I propose to take Questions Nos. 7 and 18 together.
In 2011, IDA client companies created more than 13,000 new jobs, up 20% on the previous year's level of 10,897, increasing the total number of those employed directly in companies supported by the agency to almost 146,000, representing a net increase of more than 6,000. The IDA has informed me that there are 12 IDA Ireland-supported client companies in County Wexford employing 2,060 people. Some 51 new jobs were created in IDA Ireland-supported client companies in Wexford in 2011. The most significant announcement last year came in September when the Taoiseach joined Mr. Muhtar Kent, chairman and CEO of The Coca-Cola Company, to celebrate the opening of the new $300 million Coca-Cola manufacturing and innovation facility in Wexford, which will facilitate the creation of 100 new jobs in the coming years. This investment is a vote of confidence in Wexford by a global leader.
The past year has been a difficult one for the south east region with significant job losses. The rise in unemployment in the region has been sharper than in the rest of the country. In the wake of the TalkTalk closure, I instructed my agencies to put together an action plan for the south east. The report was published in December 2011 and contains many actions that can help deliver on the ambition of having a stronger local enterprise base, but it can only achieve so much. There are challenges for all agencies in the region to help build up its competitive advantage and promote it in a co-ordinated manner.
The south east received a boost earlier this month with the announcement that Eishtec, a Waterford-based company providing consumer contact centre services, is to create 250 new jobs by mid-2012 as part of a major new expansion at its new custom built facility in Cleaboy Business Park.