FG backbencher claims grants system a problem for farmers


Fine Gael TD John Deasy has called on “senior figures” in his party to “stop pretending” they are unaware of problems the farming community has with proposed means-testing of third-level grants.

The government backbencher has also launched an attack on Minister for Education Ruairí Quinn and the Labour Party, claiming they have “little knowledge” of the issues affecting farmers.

Mr Deasy said yesterday he intends to “strongly oppose” plans to means-test farmers out of the third-level maintenance grants scheme, when the subject is raised at today’s meeting of the Fine Gael parliamentary party.The Waterford TD said Mr Quinn had got “his methodology and figures wrong according to Teagasc” and needed to pause.

“If Ruairí Quinn spent a bit more time dealing with the unions and less time trying to tax farmers out of existence we would all be better off,” he said. “One of the reasons we have a massive shortfall in our revenue stream is that the Labour Party has protected labour unions for the last two years. They are not going to make up that shortfall on the backs of the farming community.”