I thank the Deputy for raising this matter. Regional development, not just in the Border area but across Ireland, remains a key priority and my Department and its agencies are focused on strengthening investment and job creation all over the country. The recent annual results of the IDA demonstrate that we are making significant strides. In 2018, for example, 56% of all new jobs created by the agency were in locations outside Dublin. Similarly, every region in Ireland, including the Border region, posted net gains in jobs last year. There are now over 132,000 people employed across 681 firms in IDA client companies outside the capital. In fact, 58% of all IDA-supported employment is now outside of Dublin. This represents the highest number of people employed in the regions by IDA clients in the agency's history. While more work remains to be done, the Border region has benefitted from this regional focus. The region experienced a 3% growth in employment by overseas companies in 2018 and we are already working hard to increase this figure in 2019.
As part of its work, the IDA is directly investing in a building programme to ensure property solutions are in place for overseas companies considering investing or expanding outside our major cities. As part of budget 2019, I allocated an additional €10 million for the next phase of the IDA's regional property programme. I am pleased to inform the Deputy that the programme includes plans for an advanced technology unit, or ATU, at Knockaconny, County Monaghan. The IDA is in the process of procuring a design and delivery team for this facility. The wider Border region will also benefit with new buildings planned for Dundalk and Sligo, which I am confident will help generate new opportunities for the wider area. The agency has a dedicated regional manager for the north east-north west region and an office in the Cavan Innovation and Technology Centre. As part of its strategy to promote the area, the IDA is focusing on sectors including agrifood, manufacturing, tourism and internationally-traded services.