IDA Ireland companies created 10,897 new jobs last year, but the year also saw 9,545 job losses in IDA-supported companies, resulting in an overall increase of 1,352.

In its end of year statement, IDA Ireland said that foreign direct investment increased 'significantly' in 2010 despite the global economic uncertainty. A total of 126 foreign direct investments were secured last year.

Companies investing in Ireland for the first time rose by 20% and included the likes of Telefonica, Warner Chilcott, LinkedIn, EA, Riot Games, Genband, Aspect and FC Stone.

IDA said that investment in research, development and innovation came to over €500m. Over 60% of corporation tax in Ireland is paid by IDA-supported companies while exports from these firms account for over 75% of total Irish exports.

IDA Ireland said the country's competitiveness improved significantly last year. Business costs - including energy, private rents, office rents, services, construction and labour - have become more competitive. Gas and electricity prices are also lower, as is the cost of living.

Looking ahead, IDA Ireland said the global outlook for foreign direct investment remains challenging, but the country's improving competitiveness will place Ireland in a favourable position to win further investment.

It added that it is encouraging to note that many investments secured last year will continue the recruitment process this year. It said it will remain focused on high-end manufacturing, global services and research, development and innovation across a wide range of sectors.

'The level of confidence demonstrated by overseas investors in Ireland ensures we will remain one of the leading locations in the world for foreign direct investment,' commented IDA chief executive Barry O'Leary.

'Our enhanced competitiveness means Ireland is winning more FDI business, which is contributing significantly to Ireland's export led economic recovery,' he added.

'Despite the period of global recession over the past two years, our value propostion to multinational firms either operating here or choosing to hub in Ireland for the first time remains one of the strongest in the world,' commented the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, Batt O'Keeffe.

He added that the pre-crisis levels of investment are coming from our traditional markets of North America, mainland Europe and the UK, as well as from new high-growth markets.