Changes to the Nursing Home Support Scheme (Amendment) Act 2021 will come into effect on the 20th of October 2021.
Big Change to Scheme.
The biggest change relates to capping the contribution applied to the the family farm or business to 3 years. This means that after a period of 3 years the value of the family farm will no longer be taken into consideration when calculating the cost of a person’s nursing home care. This is good news for families who wish to keep the family farm going while at the same time availing of the scheme.
BUT as always, there is a catch –
• this will happen only where a family successor commits to working on the farm or in the business for a period of six years. Something that may not necessarily be in place for a lot of elderly business owners and farmers who are very often reluctant to plan for their nursing home care.

Successor to Business
If the business owner had a successor, that successor surely would have been appointed prior to the last minute when the owner is going into a nursing home. But, if the business owner hasn’t appointed a successor by the time they are going into a nursing home, it is going to be hard to locate one quickly.
On the other hand, of course, the aim of the amendment is to compel succession on those who have held out to the end.
This is a method by which to force some farmer’s hands in passing farming businesses on to the next generation. While we have multiple tax incentives in this regard – young trained farmer relief, agricultural relief for interfamily farm transfers this is yet another reason to refrain from holding on indefinitely.

The other social utility about the family successor is that the amendments are designed to remove what was seen as a penalty on a successor. So, a successor could have been appointed and was running the farm but all the time in the background the farm was being charged with the 7.5% nursing home charge. This was obviously a serious dis-incentive for successors to get involved in the family business.
If there is no successor it appears that the 3 year cap will not apply. Therefore, a successor is a no brainer!

Sale of Houses now allowed
Another important change is that the 3 year cap on the family home now applies to the proceeds of sale of the family home. This is seen as being helpful to free up properties that are otherwise lying stagnant because owners want to keep them in the 3 year net. This should also serve to assist the lack of housing supply most towns and cities are experiencing.

How is the Fair deal contribution calculated

In the case of a couple, the applicant’s means are assessed as 50% of the couple’s combined income and assets. The first €36,000 of an individual’s assets, or €72,000 in the case of a couple, is not counted at all in the financial assessment.
The aim is that participants contribute to the cost of their care, according to their means, while the State pays the balance of the cost.

Where an individual’s assessed weekly contribution is greater than the cost of care, they do not qualify for financial support. Therefore, applicants with substantial assets or incomes are unlikely to qualify for financial support.
The capital value of an individual’s principal private residence is only included in the financial assessment for the scheme for the first 3 years of their time in care.

Currently, this unqualified 3-year cap does not apply to productive assets, such as farms and businesses, except in the case where a farmer or business owner suffers a sudden illness or disability and, as a result, requires nursing-home care. This is set to change now as outlined on20th October 2021.

If you have any query, contact Donal Ryan, Máire McMahon or Alison O’Mahony on the matter.

Win for Publicans in business interruption insurance case!

On 5th February 2021, the High Court ruled that several publicans were entitled to cover under FBD Insurance business interruption policies, for losses suffered because of the Covid 19 pandemic. This was a similar outcome to a case already decided in the UK Supreme court.

Justice Denis McDonald found that a policy sold by FBD covered losses sustained by the pubs having to close due to Covid 19. This ruling is similar to the recent UK Supreme Court decision of 15 January 2021 where the insurance regulator successfully challenged insurers refusal to indemnify certain businesses under business interruption policies.

FBD argued that their policy did not cover the disruption caused by Covid 19 as it never provided for pandemics, however the High Court disagreed, finding that cover is not lost where the closure of the business affected is prompted by a nationwide outbreak of a disease, provided that the outbreak is within a 25 mile radius and is one of the reasons for the closure of the business.

This is a significant ruling for many businesses with similar business interruption policies. It remains to be seen however whether this ruling will be appealed in the near future. Mr Justice McDonald has delayed a decision quantifying the losses suffered by the publicans until a later date and we will be able to update you once this aspect of the judgement is given.

Following the judgement, Insurance companies indicated that they would work with insured clients. Whilst this case was against FBD, the principles apply to all insurance companies. The full text of the judgement can be found here

If you are a publican, restaurant or business owner and feel you might be affected by this judgement, you should first read carefully your insurance policy, liaise with your broker and if you have any questions contact our Head of our litigation Lorcan Dunphy at 062 61288 or email

Protect Yourself against Online Identity Theft

An emerging area of risk in Ireland of which we all need to be aware is Online Identity Theft.

Identity theft is increasingly a problem where transfers of funds between bank accounts is concerned. For Donal T. Ryan Solicitors LLP, we are particularly concerned that our clients should not fall foul of these cyber criminals when they are transferring funds to us.

If you are transferring money electronically to us, you must first verbally verify the bank account details with the solicitor you are dealing with.

One example of scammers taking advantage of solicitors’ clients is where they hack the solicitors’ firm’s e-mail account to find people who owe them money. The scammers then send “chaser” e-mails to these people, pretending to be from the solicitors’ firm, and supplying the bank details – which are in fact the scammers’ own bank details. If the solicitors’ firm’s e-mail signature includes a warning not to transfer funds without confirming bank details verbally by phone, as we include on all our e-mails, the scammers simply delete this warning. Once the money is transferred to their account, the scammers then empty the account. Even worse, because the bank was given instructions to transfer the money by the account holder, the bank is not obliged to get it back.

Prevention is better than cure, so Irish individuals and businesses need to take steps to make sure that neither they nor their customers become the scammers’ next victims. Businesses can take measures to prevent their e-mails from being hacked, from two-factor authentication to data loss prevention, and security awareness training. This use of technology must be supported by well implemented policies and procedures, such as a Password Management Policy and Acceptable Use policies.

On an individual level, in order to protect yourself never use bank details contained in an e-mail without checking them verbally with the solicitor or other person you are transferring funds to. Always ring the person you are dealing with to double check bank details.

Consumer Contracts Bill

This issue of insurance reform is a current topic of discussion. This Consumer Contracts Bill is currently making it ways through the Houses of the Oireachtas. It was hoped to that it would become law in 2020, however the talk of a general election might delay its finalisation.

The law aims to make it more difficult for Insurance Companies to refuse to pay a valid claim. The insurers will also have to notify the insured when they plan to settle a claim. Being kept in the dark has been a source of complaints for insured person.

Another change will be that the onus will be on insurers to ask the relevant questions when a consumer or small firm is taking out a policy. This is a reversal of the current situation where the policy holder is expected to anticipate what has to be disclosed.

Our view here in Donal T. Ryan Solicitors LLP is that anything that places a bigger obligation on insurers can only be a good thing.

If you have any queries on the enclosed, or a query on insurance do not hesitate to contact Donal Ryan or Lorcan Dunphy in our Cashel office at 062 61288

Black Friday – Avoid the pitfalls!

Black Friday has become the busiest on-line shopping period of the year in recent times. People are eager to get the best deals and they have waited all year to buy a new TV, tablet or hi-tech equipment. However, you have to be careful not to get carried away by the hype and make sure you shop smart on-line.

Do Your Research

Check in advance the actual price of items that you want to buy on Black Friday. You could end up overpaying if you are taken in by mediocre prices masquerading as 50% reductions. Confirm in advance the actual average market price of an item so that you know whether or not a bargain is too good to be true.

Set a Budget and Stick to It

This may sound simple, but it is often to practise when you are being bombarded by special offers, limited availability and “one day only” prices. Retailers are doing their best to entice you to buy as much as possible and it’s easy to impulse buy in the heat of the moment. You need to set a budget in advance and be disciplined on the day. Often shopping on-line doesn’t feel like you are spending “real money” but when your credit card bill arrives at the end of the month, you will be much happier if you have shopped within your means.


We have entered a new era of marketing which has seen the rise of the online influencer. You have to remember that social media influencers are often given payments, discounts or free products in return for a positive review. Some on-line retailers have even confessed to posting fake reviews to gather trust from people. It is a good idea to read reviews on multiple platforms and maintain a healthy scepticism in the face of overly enthusiastic 5 star reviews from social media personalities.

On-Line Security

When shopping on-line you are going to be sharing crucial personal information including credit card details with the retailers. Therefore you have to ensure that your information will be shared securely. Make sure that the site has a “https” certificate as it means all communications between your browser and the website are encrypted. Also consider using a Paypal or Revolut account. These type of services may be used to pay or send money on-line without sharing your financial information directly with the retailer and often include additional purchase protection in the event of a problem with the purchase.

Hidden Charges

Finally, you need to account for all costs when shopping on-line during the Black Friday madness. There are often additional fees like shipping costs that may not be apparent until the check-out process. For bigger electrical items such as televisions, these can be significant and you need to decide if the item is still good value once you have factored in all of the costs.

Cooling-Off Period

Change your mind about a purchase? No problem. When you buy on-line from businesses based in the E.U. you are given a cooling-off period of 14 days. This means you have the right to cancel an order for any reason within this period. You must return the item within 14 days from the day you cancelled and you may have to pay for the cost of returning it. However, if the item is faulty you do not have to pay for the cost of returning it. You should receive a refund within 14 days of cancellation or return of the item. The Cooling-off period could particularly useful when Black Friday fever turns to Black Friday regret in the aftermath of a serious spending spree!

Buy Local

Shopping on-line can be fun but don’t forget to shop local and support local businesses. Your custom can make all the difference locally to retailers in a highly competitive market.

Remember if you don’t shop in your local town, you will not have a local town to shop in.

Clancy’s Law – Owner’s responsibility if a Learner driver driving unaccompanied

Under the new Road Traffic Act, if you have a son or daughter that is a learner driver YOU , the owner, will now be committing an offence if you allow them to drive without being accompanied by fully qualified driver.

However as the owner of the vehicle you will have a good defence to the charge to show that the vehicle was being used without your consent and either that you had taken all reasonable precautions to prevent its being used or that it was being used by the driver acting against your orders.

The fine imposed cannot exceeding €2000 or 6 month imprisonment or both such a fine and imprisonment.

12 Tips for Christmas

More Christmas trees

Follow our 12 tips for Christmas and worry not!

  1. Misguided by Mistletoe at the Staff Party – Your staff policies on bullying and harassment and discrimination still apply at the office party. Just make sure everyone knows this and knows what they are. if you are attending your office party Looking forward to the office Christmas party? It’s often great fun and an end-of-year morale boost for staff… just be careful not to make any false promises while in the festive spirit.
  2. Finance – Be careful not to overspend – Set a budget for the festive season and stick to it
  3. Vouchers as Presents –  Before you buy, check the expiry date!
  4. Online shopping is one way of avoiding the queues come the January sales – but make sure you are do so safely. Check for the padlock sign on the payment page and monitor your credit card or paypal account regularly. – Safest way to shop – is to shop local!
  5. Taking a break over Christmas ? Make your home look occupied, leave a light on and get a trusted neighbour to check on your property, don’t leave any presents visible from the windows – Finally take precautions to make sure the pipes don’t burst!
  6. Check your house insurance– if you have got expensive Christmas presents you may need to up the insurance to cover them!
  7. Family law – If you are involved in a family law dispute, if possible, put aside your own differences and try to put the children first during the festive season.  Let the children enjoy their Christmas, without tension and acrimony between their parents. Don’t forget family law proceedings are private – you cannot post or tweet about them
  8. Social Media – Employers should ensure that employees should not place material on social media sites which would adversely affect the reputation of the employer and that such conduct may result in the employee being disciplined in accordance with the employer’s disciplinary policy.
  9. Safety First – Christmas lights spread festive cheer but don’t forget to turn them off before you go to bed… the bright lights might keep your neighbours awake…or set your house on fire!
  10. Return that Gift – Check as shops’ return policy before you buy and ask for a gift receipt. There is no obligation for shops to offer an exchange or refund for unwanted Christmas gifts but many still do as a gesture of goodwill – otherwise it could be regifted!
  11. Don’t ever drink & Drive – If you’re drinking, leave the car at home and make sure you don’t drive the following morning – You could still be over the limit!
  12. Eat, drink and stay merry this Christmas – but do it all in moderation.


On-Line Shopping – Beware!

The way we shop has changed. Online shopping means everyone now has access to the global market and consumer choice has never been better! However, I have been thinking about the risks facing online shoppers, particularly with Black Friday and Christmas around the corner.  The following are some of the dangers we have to be aware of when shopping on-line: Read more