The jobs, enterprise and innovation elements of my Department's portfolio are inextricably linked.
For example, the competitive advantage created by the use of technology and innovation is a key driver in achieving Irish economic recovery and supports job creation. In 2011, over €700m of IDA investment projects were in research, development and innovation; these investments are supporting direct and indirect jobs in the economy. Companies that undertake Research and Development and capitalise on innovation have also shown a greater resilience during the economic crisis. Export and employment levels in indigenous firms engaged in R&D consistently outperform those of firms not engaged in such activities.
My Department's enterprise agencies provide a comprehensive range of assistance to enterprises to support their growth and underpin job creation.
In 2011, IDA Ireland supported the creation of over 11,594 new full time jobs, while 6,950 jobs were lost, giving a net increase of 4,544 jobs in the period.
Enterprise Ireland supported the creation of just over 9,000 new full time jobs last year. While a similar number of jobs were lost, this was a very strong performance after three successive years of job losses far exceeding the number of jobs created. In addition, Enterprise Ireland client companies achieved record levels of exports of €15.2bn in 2011. This exceeds the pre-recession record levels of 2008 and is the highest ever annual export gain achieved by Enterprise Ireland client companies
We will build on all of these positive developments. Up to the end of June this year, there have been 49 new announcements by the IDA, with the potential to create almost 5,500 jobs. Enterprise Ireland has announced details of supports to companies which have to potential to see over 2,000 jobs come on stream. This represents a very strong performance in the face of intense competition for Foreign Direct Investment and a challenging domestic environment.