Companies supported by Enterprise Ireland recorded a net increase of 10,169 in staff numbers for 2015.

In total the Government agency responsible for developing Irish business globally reported the creation of 21,118 new jobs by client companies last year, but when job losses at these firms are included the figure is more than halved.

Total employment at Enterprise Ireland-supported companies stands at 192,223, a record high for the agency.

Almost two thirds of the new jobs created were outside Dublin and all of the regions recorded increases in full-time employment over the period.

Enterprise Ireland attributes this strong performance by Irish businesses to an improving entrepreneurial climate for start-ups, dynamic Irish companies innovating and scaling up in key sectors such as food, fintech and business process outsourcing, as well as improving international economic conditions.

Start-up companies account for over two thirds of all new jobs created in Ireland and over 200 early stage companies have been approved for investment by Enterprise Ireland.

In addition, a further 500 start-up companies through the Local Enterprise Offices (LEOs).

61 of the start-up companies that Enterprise Ireland invested in were led by female entrepreneurs and there were 15 investments in companies established in Ireland by overseas entrepreneurs last year through a new fund.

In 2015, 240 Enterprise Ireland clients made investments of over €500,000 in their companies.

Commenting on the figures, Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation Richard Bruton said: "Irish companies have an unparalleled capacity to create jobs in towns and cities right around the country, and in recent years these companies have created more than three quarters of the 135,000 extra jobs created across the economy.

“In order to deliver on this plan we have put in place a range of new measures, including placing extra Enterprise Ireland staff in overseas markets and doubling the number of trade missions,” he added.

Enterprise Ireland Chief Executive Julie Sinnamon said: "Irish businesses are making a huge contribution to the recovery in the economy and 2015 was a great year for job creation in the companies Enterprise Ireland supports.

“Our focus on helping businesses to start, innovate and scale is paying dividends with the highest level of full time jobs created and the lowest level of jobs lost in businesses that are competing globally from Ireland."