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Almost 8,000 low-income farmers and fishermen got social welfare assistance from the state last year.

Mayo, Donegal and Galway had the highest numbers.

Farm Assist is a payment to low-income farmers, capped at 208 euro per week.

Fianna Fáil TD Eamon Ó Cuiv says there are specific criteria you have to meet:

“You are subject to a means test and a means test is quite severe and includes a partner’s or spouse’s income. As well as that, they take 70% of the farm income into account.”

The Rural Social Scheme is a similar support, aimed at low-income farmers and fishermen.

The Department of Social Protection says 5,004 people benefitted from Farm Assist last year – and 2,981 were on the Rural Social Scheme.

1,356 people in Mayo were on either scheme – the highest in the country.

That’s followed by Donegal, on 1,272.

Then it’s Galway, on 874.

Only six farmers or fishermen in Dublin were on either scheme last year.