Minister for Jobs Richard Bruton has said that the current trade mission to the Gulf region could lead to up to 4,000 jobs in Ireland.

Mr Bruton said it is a region that will provide huge opportunities to Irish business and it is estimated that €600m worth of additional business will be done with the region over the next five years, the equivalent of 4,000 jobs in Ireland.

He said the region was building new cities, hospitals and schools and applying new technologies, which would provide huge opportunities for construction and areas such as ICT and health where small companies can thrive.

Mr Bruton said having Taoiseach Enda Kenny on the trade mission is vital because the key is having presence on the ground.

He said the focus of this visit is on export and jobs and not human rights issues.

Mr Bruton said any human rights issues would be raised by Ireland through a European level.

Meanwhile, more than €25m worth of contracts have been signed in the first three days of the Government's trade mission.

The Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation said 11 Irish companies secured new business and contracts during the first three days of the mission.

It has been focused on Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates.

One of the biggest deals involves Jones Engineering, which has signed a contract with what is described as a fast-moving consumer goods brand, worth €15m.

Among the other companies to sign new contracts on the mission were Instant Upright, the Escher Group and the Rehab group.

Separately Absal Paul, an Irish Saudi contract services provider, announced that it had signed more than €100m in contracts over the past 12 months.

Mr Bruton said the new business would result in more exports, which would mean more jobs in Ireland.