Macra President, Alan Jagoe, has slammed proposals to include assets in means tests for education grants. He said, “Including assets such as farming land is incredibly short-sighted on behalf of the Minister for Education. The fact is that the average full-time farmer will not be in a position to send their child to college without the assistance of an educational grant. This way of thinking is not in touch with the economic reality for many sole traders and farm families.
“Irish farming operates on a rather unique business model that centres around the family farm and is not readily comparable to other business sectors that commonly use other structures such as companies. Many farm families while asset rich are income poor. 2009 proved to be a prime example with average incomes well below the average industrial wage. Farm assets are productive assets and are essential to the ongoing survival of the business from generation to generation and cannot be factored into means testing for higher education grants.”