Exporting companies boost economy
Ireland's exporters created 19,705 jobs last year.
A review of companies supported by Enterprise Ireland found a net increase of 8,476 in the number of people employed in these businesses - a record gain in one year.
Some 180,072 people are now working in the country's home-grown export focused businesses, with the sector said to account for an estimated 300,000 jobs in the wider economy.
Enterprise Ireland also revealed its client companies recorded the lowest level of job losses since 2000.
Julie Sinnamon, Enterprise Ireland chief executive, said: "We are very proud of the record performance of our clients right across the country.
"The level of increased employment achieved is remarkable and endorses the strategy we have embarked on to 2016. We continue to relentlessly focus on ensuring the right supports are available for clients at every stage of growth.
"This focus - coupled with our priority to support entrepreneurship across the regions, and develop strong, export focussed, ambitious Irish companies that can win new business - will mean even more jobs for Ireland over the next 12 months".
Last week IDA Ireland, which focuses on building the multinational sector in Ireland, also revealed a record year for jobs growth with the number of people employed in the sector increasing by more than 7,000.
Richard Bruton, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, said creating a powerful engine of Irish enterprise alongside the multinational sector was a priority.
"This is the best performance in the history of the agency, and great credit is owed to Julie and her staff for this excellent performance. Every job created in an Enterprise Ireland company supports an additional job elsewhere in the economy, through supply and service businesses - so the impact of this on communities across the country is massive," he said.
"Through our plan to grow jobs in Irish companies, we can help drive economic growth and ultimately allow Government to put money in people's pockets and improve services."