By Andrew Bushe
DUBLIN — The Industrial Development Agency says a record 17,590 jobs were created a last year, but the development agency has expressed concern about regional imbalances, with Dublin surging ahead of the rest of the country because of the attractions it can offer.
"The unevenness of job creation across the country is a cause of great concern. It requires radical action and a timely response on infrastructure issues," IDA chief executive Sean Dorgan said.
"There are two many regions at a disadvantage from uncompetitive infrastructure and lack of business support services to be able to attract the required level of new and modern business investment.
"Dublin is surging ahead because of the strong attractions it can offer international businesses," he said.
He said there are now 125,111 employed in 1,207 IDA supported companies with an expansion of total employment of 7.3 percent last year.
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There was a loss of 9,057 jobs during the year — mainly "lower-value" jobs, Dorgan said.
Dorgan said that with a new focus for the IDA there would be some reduction in job creation numbers in the years ahead.
"While job creation remains as a key objective, it is no longer the overriding driving force of the organization," he said. "Regional development, adding value, quality and sustainability to what we have in Ireland, and launching Ireland as a key platform for eBusiness are the priorities now."
Sales from IDA companies at nearly £28 billion and exports at nearly £26 billion have each grown by over 16 percent.
The IDA said there had been a significant drop in the cost of creating jobs, which is now running at £10,260 per job sustained over seven years, compared to £33,300 from 1981-87.