When Joe Carroll's wife was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis a few years ago, the family never thought they would have to sell their farm to pay the bills for nursing homes.
Today Joe is protesting outside the Ministry of Health at the Irish Farmers Association (IFA) to emphasize what he believes is a major injustice for farmers in the Fair Deal care program.
"I've always paid my bills. In fact, when we had good dairy cows for years, I made sure I save some money. They had to help my two other children, those who didn't get the farm. & # 39;
Now the farmer of Offaly says that none of his children will be left behind when his life savings languish while he pays thousands of euros in monthly bills for his wife's nursing homes.
Jane was diagnosed with MS in 2013 and Joe tried to take care of her at home, but the burden became too big and four years ago the family decided that she would be better off in a full-time nursing home. "The domestic help offered was half an hour, two or three mornings a week. It wasn't enough to do anything," Joe said.
Now Joe pays more than € 20,000 a year in costs for nursing homes and says that his savings will soon be gone. "Then we are faced with a sign outside the farm to pay the costs," he said.
According to the Fair Deal Scheme, the State can only claim 22.5% of the value of the parental home, under a three-year limit on the asset. However, farming families and small business owners have won 7.5% of the value of their land to pay for the costs of a nursing home. There is no cap on it, which means that an entire farm would have to be sold to pay the bills.
Legislation in the latest budget was expected to change, but farming families are still waiting.