Regional development has been a top priority of mine ever since becoming Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation. Together with my Department and its enterprise Agencies, I have been focused on strengthening investment and job creation all over the country. That was the case in 2018 and 2019 and our collective emphasis on regional development will continue in 2020.
With respect to 2018 in particular, 56% of all net new jobs created by IDA Ireland were in locations outside Dublin. Similarly, every region in Ireland, including the North-East Region, posted net gains in jobs last year. There are now over 132,000 people employed across approximately 700 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. It also reflects the absolute importance that the Agency and Government have attached to increasing foreign direct investment (FDI) outside of our main urban areas.
As for County Louth, FDI levels in the County are trending in the right direction. Louth experienced a 3.5% increase in FDI employment in 2018, with 28 IDA-supported client companies now based there. Those same firms employ over 3,900 people, with 139 net new jobs added in 2018. IDA client firms in Louth are continuing to grow and develop. Last year alone saw announcements from Almac, Wuxi and PCI, which will result in the creation of over 700 jobs. The investment by Wuxi was particularly significant, with construction beginning earlier this year on the company's €325 million state-of-the-art facility in Dundalk.
Looking ahead, the IDA will continue to draw the attention of investors to Louth and the Border region. The Agency's Regional Property Programme (RPP) is important in that context by helping provide property solutions for overseas companies considering locating in the area. Construction is progressing, for example, on an office building in County Louth which will be completed this year. The RPP also includes plans for an Advanced Technology Building in Dundalk and construction is expected to begin on this facility at the end of this year. The wider Border region will benefit as well from the RPP, with new buildings planned for Sligo and Monaghan. I am confident that these facilities, together with the wider work the IDA is undertaking to promote the region to overseas investors, will help attract further investment and generate new employment opportunities to the Counties concerned.