Employment in companies supported by State agency Enterprise Ireland increased by a net 5,442 last year.

The organisation said this represented the highest level of growth for a decade. 

There are 175,750 people working in firms backed by Enterprise Ireland around the country. 

Companies grew employment by 18,033 positions, but when job losses were taken into account the net rise was 5,442. 

In its end-of-year statement, Enterprise Ireland attributed the increase to a strong export performance.