Irish-owned company SouthWestern is to create 260 jobs at its Co Cork plant.

100 jobs are to be filled immediately by SouthWestern, which provides services such as health claims administration, debt collection and help desk services for public and private sector clients.

An additional 160 jobs will be created over the next two years.

The announcement was made by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Simon Coveney when he officially opened the company’s new offices at Little Island today.

Based in Clonakilty, the company was set up in 1957 as a cattle breeding society, but has since grown into one of Ireland's leading business process outsourcing companies with operations in Ireland, Poland and England.

The company’s clients include Bord Gáis Energy, the Health Service Executive, Independent News & Media and the Department of Agriculture.

Today's announcement will see its workforce grow to 1,100 employees.

Separately, Mr Coveney has welcomed support for Ireland's growing artisan food industry which has seen over 300 jobs created nationwide.

Sixty artisan producers from Cork and Kerry have been taking part in a one-day food forum organised by Bord Bia, the local enterprise offices and SuperValu.

It is aimed at supporting the country's flourishing artisan food industry.