Regional development remains a key priority of mine as Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation. Together with my Department and its enterprise Agencies, I am committed to strengthening investment and job creation all over the country. That collective focus on regional development is producing results. In 2018, for example, 56% of all net new jobs created by IDA Ireland were in locations outside Dublin. Similarly, every region in Ireland posted net gains in jobs last year.
County Mayo hosted two site visits in the first half of 2019. Data on site visits for the third quarter of this year will be released at the end of October. For commercial sensitivity reasons, IDA Ireland can only make available data on site visits that have already taken place.
Whilst site visits remain an important tool in helping showcase regional locations to investors, it is important to remember - as I have made clear before - that the final decision as to where to invest rests solely with the company concerned. It is also the case that site visit activity does not necessarily reflect investment potential or job creation, as a significant proportion of all new foreign direct investment (FDI) comes from existing IDA clients already present in the country.
Mayo has experienced annual increases in employment by IDA client companies since 2013 and the pipeline for FDI there remains positive. There were, for example, 344 net new jobs added by IDA client companies in 2018, an increase of 7.5% compared to the previous year. Earlier this year, Meissner Filtration Products announced that it will expand manufacturing operations by establishing a facility in Castlebar. Meissner will occupy the Advanced Technology Building that was constructed by the IDA as part of its Regional Property Programme and their expansion will create up to 150 jobs over the next five years.
Progress has been made in creating new economic opportunities in Mayo but we are determined to achieve more. That is why my Department's enterprise agencies will continue to focus on regional development and to explore how we can drive further job creation in the County and the surrounding areas.