One of the Irish Republic's best-known food plants, Galtee Meats in Mitchels­town, County Cork, is to close with the loss of 70 jobs.

The plant, owned by the Dairygold Co-op, has supplied pork products including ham, sausages and bacon rashers to multiples in Ireland and the UK for 40 years.

A statement blamed the closure on the continuing growth of low-margin, own-label products and warned: "The consumer foods business in Ireland is operating in an increasingly competitive market with a constantly rising cost base."

Galtee will continue to supply its customers by licensing production to other manufacturers.

The business used to process 20% of Ireland's pig kill and employed 400 people at its height, according to former food minister Ned O'Keeffe.