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 education minister Ruairi Quinn, claiming they have "little knowledge" of 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 at today's meeting of the Fine Gael parliamentary party.
The proposed income threshold is based on farms theoretically worth over €750,000 that have the capacity to generate €41,000 per annum – the cut-off point for full grants to PAYE earners.
"This is assumed income – it has little or no basis in fact," said Mr Deasy.