Fine Gael Chairman, Charlie Flanagan TD has asked the Agricultural Committee in the Dail to closely examine the proposed capital assets means testing for farmers and self employed people.
Deputy Flanagan was speaking following reports that the implementation of such a scheme could prohibit the children of farm families from qualifying for a third level grant.
“This is an issue that I initially raised with Minister Quinn in the Dail last May.
“I would be very concerned at any proposals which would include farm land and business assets in means testing for third level college grants.
“In many respects, the capital asset- the agricultural land in the case of farmers- is only material when land is being sold.”
“The most recent Teagasc National Farm Survey has shown that the average farm income was less than €25,000.
“Further research has highlighted the fact that farms with asset values of €750,000 or less had a farm income of less than €41,000.
“I have been in touch with the Agricultural Committee and have asked that that they receive a presentation from Professor Gerry Boyle and his Teagasc team.”
“It is important that this issue is examined from a neutral perspective and that any concerns about the method in which third level grants may be assessed, particularly for farmers and the self employed, are addressed before the report of the Capital Asset Test Implementation Group is published,” said Deputy Flanagan.