The Minister with responsibility for Older People has said nursing home residents under the Fair Deal Scheme will not have to pay an increased contribution towards their care.

Kathleen Lynch was speaking after the publication of a review into the scheme which set out a range of options for the Government in terms of future long-term funding of the scheme.

The Fair Deal scheme was introduced in 2009, and there are 22,000 nursing-home residents in the system.

Currently they make a contribution towards the cost of their care and the State pays the balance. People are asked to contribute 80% of their income.

This report sets out a number of options open to the Government to fund the scheme into the future.

Ms Lynch said the Government has decided to make no changes in this area and that residents' contributions will not increase.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One, she said that the recommendations will now go to an interdepartmental group to see how they could be implemented.

However, she said the Government had already decided that there would not be an increase in cost to service users.

"It's taken into consideration one of the key factors which the Government has made a decision on, and that is that there will be no increase in the cost to the person in need of care.

"We have to be very conscious that those in need of care and those almost 24,000 people in receipt of nursing home care in this country, that their only income is in fact the state pension and they're paying already 80% of that."

She said the asset contribution element had been increased to a 21.5% over a three period, and that three year period cap was something the Government was willing to review.

Age Action has welcomed the decision, saying it will be a relief for many families.

The report recommends setting up a central administrative process and to make certain aspects of the scheme more transparent.

The Government is to set up a working  group to consider these options.

In a statement today Nursing Homes Ireland welcomed the review saying it was "long overdue" and outlines "critical challenges facing Ireland in providing nursing home care".