Business group Ibec has confirmed that Joe Ryan is to take over the leadership of Meat Industry Ireland.

Mr Ryan will succeed Cormac Healy, who joins Drinks Ireland as its new Director later this month.

He joined Meat Industry Ireland in 2014, having previously held roles in the agri-food sector for SouthWestern, North Cork Co-Operative and Permanent TSB's Agri-Finance division.

The meat sector in Ireland, from farm through to processing and export, supports more than 120,000 individual farmers and generates total sales of more than €4.5 billion.

Mr Ryan said that rurally located meat processing plants act as a key economic contributor by providing direct employment in many Irish towns with additional supplementary jobs generated in distribution, transport and services.

"Within the Irish meat sector, the potential exists to further scale up activity and capacity to grow export value delivering new revenues and jobs through value added processing in a sustainable manner," he added.