Noonan denies rift over third level grants15/08/2012 - 15:55:23
The Finance Minister Michael Noonan is denying ther is any rift between Fine Gael and Labour over controversial proposals to change the student grant system.
Education Minister, Labour's Ruairi Quinn, says he plans to change the means test for the third level grant, which could see farmland and business assets included for the first time.
But Agriculture Minister Simon Coveney and many Fine Gael backbenchers are said to be against the move as it is likely to mean that thousands of children from farming families will no longer qualify for a grant.
An expert group is currently examining the proposals and Noonan says he will wait for its findings before commenting further: "I'm going to wait until the expert group reports and see what's in it. I'll make my views known in cabinet at that stage.
"It's a little premature to be taking up positions when the report hasn't been published. But I understand Simon's position because he has a special relationship as Minister for Agriculture with the farming community.
"There were would be an expectation among the farming community that he would be there to protect their interests.
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