Speaking from the Ploughing Championships in New Ross today Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty has accused the government of “deliberately delaying publishing the interdepartmental report on the third level grants issue.”
Deputy Doherty said “it is clear that the government is avoiding this issue in a week where they would have to go toe to toe with thousands of farming families here at the Ploughing Championships.
“Sinn Féin is fundamentally opposed to any proposed classification of farms as capital assets. This proposed policy is not only inherently unfair but it fails to take into account a number of factors, including how farming incomes and related assets fluctuate on a monthly basis. Put simply, it would be a very unfair way of assessing applicants and would be yet another barrier to students wishing to further their studies.
“The report of the inter-departmental committee was due to be published in September but there is still no sign of it. The question has to be asked – is the government deliberately delaying publishing this report so they do not have to face the inevitable backlash from rural Ireland? Is this to spare the blushes of government representatives visiting the Ploughing Championships who would undoubtedly be met with huge opposition from the thousands of farming families here this week?
“I am calling on the government to publish this report, debate its findings and make themselves accountable to the rural communities who elected them.”