Farmers are being urged to prioritise safety in the New Year after 2016 saw an increase in farm fatalities.

Twenty-one people died in farming accidents in 2016, an increase of three on the previous year.

Three people died in December, with the most recent death on 22 December when a man in his 80s died on a farm in Athenry, Co Galway.

Three people also died on farms in November.

The Health and Safety Authority is investigating all the deaths.

Six percent of the workforce are engaged in farming but more than 50% of workplace deaths occurred in the farming sector.