The Government has announced the appointment of a new junior minster at the Department of Agriculture.

Fine Gael’s Tom Hayes will take the position as Minister of State for Forestry, Horticulture, the Greyhound Industry and Food Safety, which was left vacant after the death of Shane McEntee.

The Meath East TD died suddenly last December.

Mr Hayes said he was looking forward to working with Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney on the development of the food and agriculture sectors.

The new minister is a beef farmer from Golden, Co Tipperary.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny said Mr Hayes has a deep understanding of the agriculture sector and he was confident the new minister would be well equipped for "this important and challenging role".

Mr Hayes has served as a TD for Tipperary South since 2001.

He previously served as a Senator from 1997 to 2001.

Since 2011, Mr Hayes has been Chairperson of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications.

Irish Farmers' Association President John Bryan said the association looked forward to working with the new junior minister on a range of issues.