An agreement has been reached between Labour and Fine Gael to create a new junior minister post that will handle rural affairs, RTÉ News has learned.

It is understood this role could go to a Labour Party TD.

Last April a commission tasked with finding ways of energising the economy outside major urban centres called for the appointment of a minister to co-ordinate rural development.

It advised that the minister of state post would be based at the Department of Agriculture.

This was one of 34 recommendations made by the commission chaired by former Kerry footballer Pat Spillane.

Under the plan the minister could set annual targets for the state agencies responsible for job creation in rural areas.