Record 161,000 employed by global giants here, says IDA
MORE than 161,000 people are now employed in multi-national companies attracted to Ireland by the IDA -- the highest level in the history of the agency.
The net increase in employment last year was 7,071 -- the largest jump in more than a decade. But 6,296 jobs were also lost during the year.
The IDA is the semi-state agency responsible for attracting foreign direct investment into the country.
It's a strong result for chief executive Barry O'Leary, who steps down from the post later in the year.
His successor has not yet been selected, but he or she is expected to be in place by around the middle of the year.
"These will be my final set of results as chief executive of IDA as I intend to pursue other opportunities outside the organisation as soon as my successor is in place," Mr O'Leary said.
"I wish to thank everyone, inside and outside the organisation, for their kind support during my time in the most fulfiling and stimulating of roles."
Throughout the year 164 investments were won, up 13pc on 2012, and 78 new companies invested in Ireland for the first time. This is up 18pc on 2012.
While the record jobs numbers are a major boost for the agency, it struggles to meet its target of attracting foreign direct investment to the regions.
Mr O'Leary said the IDA would be building three buildings -- two 25,000 sq ft manufacturing facilities in Waterford and Athlone -- and an office building in Letterkenny.
It is the first time that the IDA has built a facility in four years.
The buildings will be marketed by the IDA in a bid to attract companies into those areas.
Mr O'Leary has been chief executive since 2008, having replaced former civil servant Sean Dorgan.
The outgoing IDA boss was appointed to the role from within the agency, having worked there since 1976. However, Mr Dorgan was an IDA outsider, therefore it's hard to say who would replace Mr O'Leary at this juncture.
"At a certain point of time you have to step down from whatever job you're in," Mr O'Leary said.
"I've had a great career in IDA. I've lived abroad for about 15 years but I'll always keep a watching eye on IDA," he said.
"When we started out on the current strategy four years ago, the economic circumstances, Ireland's reputation, were very difficult. But the IDA dug in, and all going well for the last year of the strategy, the numbers delivered will be the highest number of net jobs increase in the history of IDA."
Jobs Minister Richard Bruton described Mr O'Leary as a "tremendous leader".
Mr Bruton said the hope is to exceed the job creation target in 2014.