20th February 2023

Starting what developed into a diverse show this am, with a number of topics covered, the story on the denial of disability payments to those in full time care and payment for full time care in private care homes was referenced and discussed by Seamus Gunn and Greg Hughes this morning. The regulations of 1981 which introduced the policy of denying the disability payments to those in state care and the strategy adopted by the government in dealing with this matter over 3 successive governments was highlighted. Seamus Gunn also drew a distinction between the care for those in public care homes as opposed to those in private care homes and the fact that a redress scheme was introduced for the former in 2006. The Court of Public Opinion was mentioned, distinguishing it from 3 separate branches of the State, being the Legislature, the Executive and the Judiciary. He questioned governing retrospectively and historically, accounting for events long since passed. He was of the view that all systems evolve to include laws with amendments over decades. He highlighted the point that legal strategies are commonly adapted to reduce liability and that the government that were charged with maintaining the coffers of the state had a duty to the public to manage the finance in the interest of the State. He said in relation to the disability payments, that they got lucky in that the claims did not materialise as anticipated over the years and that it was not until this was recently brought to light that the matter came into the public domain again despite the fact that the strategy and policy had been in place for 30 years. He said that it was not at all clear as to who would now benefit if the redress scheme was put in place to reimburse those that were deprived their disability payment when in care. He said that this was entirely separate from those claiming to be reimbursed for fees for private nursing home care, which he was of the view had not been litigated or determined by a Court while cases may have been settled. No doubt this emotive and sensitive issue shall have to be further addressed by The Executive.

The Q&A that followed touched on consumer issues, succession and burdens on property.