A plan aimed at providing 14,000 jobs in counties Laois, Longford, Offaly and Westmeath has been announced by Taoiseach Enda Kenny and a number of Government ministers in Tullamore.

The Midlands Action Plan for Jobs is part of the Government's latest job-boosting initiative under which €250m will be made available to eight regions over the coming years.

It is aimed at delivering 10-15% employment growth in the region over the coming years.

The plan includes initiatives aimed at promoting 25% more start-ups in the midlands, including extra funding, mentoring programmes and establishing new incubator spaces for entrepreneurs.

The initiative also seeks to attract at least 25 additional multinational investment projects to the region by 2019.

This would include building two advance facilities for Athlone, appointing an IDA regional manager for the midlands and actions to ensure that key IDA personnel overseas have enhanced knowledge and marketing plans for the region.

It is also envisaged that extra employment growth would be achieved in the more than 1,000 existing exporting companies within the midlands region, most of which are small or medium sized enterprises.

165 jobs announced for Dublin, Sligo, Cork and Kerry

Meanwhile, 65 jobs are to be created in Sligo and Dublin and the southwest over the next two to four years.

AbbVie, a bio-pharmaceutical company company, is to create 50 jobs at its Ballytivnan site in Sligo over the next four years.

The company, which produces drug delivery devices, is investing €40m in the site.

This is in addition to 75 jobs created at the site since AbbVie was launched in 2013. 

In Dublin, US technology company Wrike is to establish its European headquarters with the creation of 50 jobs over the next two years.

Both projects are supported by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through the IDA.

A further 65 jobs are to be created across a range of food start-ups in Cork and Kerry as a result of the Food Academy, a collaboration between Bord Bia, SuperValu and local authorities.

The jobs are to be spread across more than 30 small businesses that are to benefit from access to retail markets under the Food Academy programme.

The jobs were announced by Minister for Agriculture Simon Coveney.