One of the Government's job creation agencies secured more than 18,000 new jobs last year, it has revealed.
Enterprise Ireland, which supports Irish companies to grow in world markets, said businesses it supports had seen total net growth of 5,442 jobs over the course of 2013 - the highest in the last decade.
The agency's end of year report also showed that firms which it had been supporting lost a total of 12,591 jobs last year.
Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Minister Richard Bruton said the figures were brilliant news and a great testament to the hard work and ingenuity of business-people and workers.
"Huge credit is owed to all at Enterprise Ireland for delivering these results. This is the second year in a row that employment in Irish exporting companies has shown significant growth, after several years in which jobs were shed," he said.
Mr Bruton said as part of Enterprise Ireland's work the number of trade missions have been doubled, new supports for exporting companies have been established and 20 extra staff were hired in overseas markets despite constrained budgets.
Enterprise Ireland said the strong performance of Irish businesses over the last year was because of improving exports.
It said 175,750 people are directly employed in companies it supports - 149,718 are full-time and 26,032 part-time.
It highlighted some major investments including by food group Glanbia, which is developing a major dairy facility in Belview, on the Kilkenny/Waterford border, and will also create 90 jobs in Monaghan and Dublin.
It also praised Eishtec, developed after Talk Talk closed its operations in the south-east. It started trading in May 2011 with just nine employees but expects to see its headcount grow to 950 people.
Elsewhere, Enterprise Ireland invested in 97 new start-ups, aiming to employ more than 1,600 new staff and to generate over 300 million euro (£248.7 million) in annual sales.