This Government is strongly committed to regional development and my Department and its agencies are working towards ambitious targets to ensure that employment and investment are as evenly distributed across the country as possible.
The employment situation in the South East, which covers Waterford, Wexford, Carlow, Kilkenny and South Tipperary, has been steadily improving in recent years. There has, for example, been a substantial increase in job creation in the region since the commencement of the National Action Plan for Jobs initiative in 2012, with an additional 33,600 in employment in Q2 2017 compared to Q1 2012.
Looking ahead, the IDA is targeting - as part of its 2015-2019 strategy - an increase of investment in the South East region of 30% to 40% by 2019. To achieve this, the Agency will continue to draw the attention of potential investors to the region's particular strengths. These include the South East's accessibility, its ports and its existing cluster of medical technology firms. The Agency will work closely with its existing clients in the region to help strengthen and potentially grow their respective workforces.
This existing base of IDA Ireland clients in the South East is comprised of 75 companies who collectively employ 14,785 people in the region. This represents approximately 7% of the total number of people employed by IDA client companies across Ireland.