My Department and its agencies are working towards ambitious targets to ensure that employment and investment are distributed as evenly as possible across the country. I am pleased to say that total employment in the Agency's client companies now stands at 229,057, with 58% of all IDA employment outside of Dublin. This represents the highest number of people employed by IDA clients outside of Dublin in the history of the organisation. The last 12 months have seen more IDA jobs added in the regions than at any time over the past 17 years.
As regards Carlow, IDA Ireland-supported employment there has increased by 31% in the last year, with 275 net new foreign direct investment-supported jobs added in the County. Between 2011 and 2018 the total of IDA supported jobs in Carlow grew from 514 to 1,150, representing a twofold increase in total employment.
Looking ahead, there are positive indications that Carlow will continue to see foreign direct investment-driven job growth. Last October's announcement by Merck, Sharp and Dohme - where it set out plans to construct a second manufacturing facility in Carlow and expand its workforce there with the creation of 170 new jobs - reflects the potential of the area and its capacity to attract first-class investment. The IDA will continue to work with its clients to identify further such opportunities for new investment or expansion in Carlow and the South-East region generally. In doing so, the Agency will draw the attention of investors to the region's particular strengths. These include the South-East's accessibility, its ports and its existing cluster of medical technology firms.
It should also be noted that, under the IDA's regional property programme, an Advanced Technology Building (ATB) in Carlow will soon be constructed, with work expected to begin in 2019 following completion of a site acquisition. This ATB, by providing a top-class property solution to an overseas firm, should help to attract further investment to the County.
While progress has been made in helping to generate new economic opportunities in Carlow, the Government remains determined to achieve more. That is why work is continuing to unlock further the economic potential of the County. The IDA remains central to this and the Agency's staff will be doing all they can to create new jobs and source further investment for Carlow and the South-East.