Recent media discussions that a revamp of the third level grants system could see farm land being included as an asset for income purposes is being vigorously opposed by Irish farming organisations.
The ICMSA President, John Comer, has reiterated his total opposition to the proposal regarding a Capital Assets Test for Third Level Grants which he described as “blatantly unfair and pandering to the very worst urban prejudices and myths about farmers and their finances”.
Mr Comer said ICMSA would be contacting every TD again over the next few days and he was confident that a very solid number would agree that a move to any form of capital assets test on Third Level Grants would very specifically discriminate against the farming community.
Mr Comer pointed out that the nub of the matter was this misconception that a farm – which is actually the tool by which a farmer earns his income – is, in any fashion, a capital asset similar to government gilts or blue chip equities or other easily cash-convertible assets. This was a complete misunderstanding of the reality, according to Mr Comer.
He said that the family farm is the method by which the individual earns his income and does not form part of the income itself. He added that following this kind of crazy logic would leave you in a situation where Ronan Keating’s voice would be treated as a capital asset or Brian O’Driscoll’s hands.
“Any proposal that ignores this fundamental fact will arouse suspicion throughout farming communities that we are seen a very old and unfounded urban bias against farmers being re-heated and served up again as something new and progressive, when it was nothing of the sort,” observed Mr Comer.