12 Dec, 14:42
Prop Cian Healy is expected to miss the start of the 2014 RBS 6 Nations after undergoing surgery on his injured ankle on Wednesday.
Ford, who joined the Ireland set-up in January 2002, will be leaving his current post at the end of November, following the permanent tsb November International series. The IRFU will be recruiting a new defensive coach for the Irish national team.
Commenting on Ford's departure, Ireland coach Eddie O'Sullivan said: "Since joining the Irish squad, Mike has been an asset to the team. He has been thoroughly professional in his coaching and has contributed enormously to the recent success of the Irish team, in which its defensive record has continually improved throughout his tenure. I wish him the very best in his new position."
The 39-year-old Ford will tour New Zealand with the British & Irish Lions this summer as defensive coach.