We can't force foreign firms to locate to rural areas - IDA
The IDA said it cannot "corral" companies to locate in particular parts of the country as new figures show some counties are being left behind in terms of foreign investment.
Last year, in the best ever year for the agency, IDA client companies created 7,071 net jobs with 4,485 or 63pc of the jobs created in Dublin alone.
The total number employed at IDA-backed firms stands at 161,112 -- the highest level in its history.
However, figures provided to Dara Calleary TD by Jobs Minister Richard Bruton show that a number of counties recorded net losses at IDA-client companies last year in contrast to Dublin and other large urban centres recording strong gains.
Net job losses in IDA client companies were recorded in Tipperary South -- 338; Kildare -- 192; Sligo -- 167; Clare -- 61; Westmeath -- 45; Leitrim -- 26; and Offaly -- 5. In contrast urban centres, such as Cork, recorded net gains of 1,141, Galway -- 705; Limerick-- 289; and Louth -- 504.
Mr Bruton also confirmed to Mr Calleary that Dublin recorded 55pc or 180 of the 326 IDA-sponsored visits by overseas investors last year with Longford recording no visit last year or in 2012.
The figures show that eight counties recorded only one visit by overseas investors: Carlow, Kildare, Kerry, Leitrim, Meath, Monaghan, Offaly and Wicklow, with three recording two visits: Cavan, Laois and Wexford.
A spokesman for the IDA said yesterday: "Site visits are in no way indicative of IDA's efforts to market a region to overseas investors or indeed of IDA's activities in that area. IDA executives from our 19 offices across the world are marketing our regions in their own marketplaces on a daily basis.
He added: "A county-by-county breakdown of job creation trends, as is being used here in order to undermine the IDA's work in the regions, reveals virtually nothing about how Ireland is performing in attracting foreign direct investment (FDI)."
He stressed: "IDA Ireland works extremely hard to make its client companies aware of the opportunities that exist outside of Dublin. A large part of IDA's regional work includes working with our existing base of companies to sustain and increase their levels of investment. This work is vitally important but is rarely acknowledged or picked up in these statistics.
"You cannot corral a company to go to a particular part of the country unless it will make sense for their business -- particularly when the company's alternative location may be Amsterdam, Barcelona or Munich," he said.