Up to 200 jobs are to be created in Dundalk, Co Louth over the next five years by National Pen, which makes marketing and promotional products.

The company, which has its international headquarters in the town, supplies products to 19 countries outside of North America.

The expansion will bring the company's workforce to 459 by the end of 2017.

The announcement was made this morning by Taoiseach Enda Kenny at the company's offices in Dundalk.

The new jobs have the support of the Department of Jobs, through IDA Ireland.

Mr Kenny said: "The creation of 200 new jobs at National Pen is fantastic news for Dundalk and the surrounding area and it demonstrates the company's commitment to Ireland.

"National Pen are a key export-orientated company and announcements like this are a significant signal of Ireland's strengths as a location for investment - our people, our pro-business policies and our proximity to European markets."

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams also welcomed the announcement.

He said there was an urgent onus on the Government to ensure that local people are equipped with the necessary skills so that they can avail of these opportunities.

The Taoiseach was later heckled by a small number of people when he visited a Social Welfare office in Dundalk.

Three people shouted at Mr Kenny in the office. There was a large garda presence at the event and the protesters were kept away from the Taoiseach.