Increased Education and Transport Costs Will Push Many Farm Families to Their Financial Limit – IFA

IFA Countryside Spokesman + Deputy President Eddie Downey has said he was very concerned that the reduction in services, increased costs particularly in relation to transport and the introduction of capital-asset test for higher education grant would push many farm families to their financial limit.

“A major worry for farm families is the introduction capital means test for higher education grants. Agricultural land must be excluded from the means test as it will actively prevent many young adults from farm families attending third level education.”

IFA will be seeking a meeting with the Minister for Education Ruairi Quinn to seek to exclude agricultural land in means test for higher education grants as it discriminates against farm families.

“The doubling of the public school transport scheme fee from €50 per €100 will further increase the hardship for many farm families with young children that just cannot afford the increased fees. Farm families have been very vocal over the last year, strongly opposing the introduction of fees and the decision by Government to double fees demonstrates their refusal to hear their concerns”, said Mr Downey.

He said that increases in motor tax rates and carbon tax were going to be particularly tough on farm families that are totally dependent on cars for transportation due to the lack of public transport schemes in rural areas.  “I have no doubt that the increased cost of motoring will heighten the sense of isolation for many living in rural areas as they will not be able to afford to use their car.”

Meanwhile, IFA Countryside Spokesman Eddie Downey has criticised the decision to reduce funding for rural transport. He said “The Rural Transport Initiative is an important scheme which combats rural isolation and provides a means for older rural people to access services. The budget cut amounts to a reduction of almost €1.5 million over the last two years and will result in some rural transport schemes struggling to continue.”

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