A total of 559 full-time jobs were created by client companies of Údarás na Gaeltachta last year. The organisation is responsible for economic, cultural and social development in Gaeltacht areas. 

There was a net gain of 80 jobs on 2015 when job losses are considered, bringing a total of 7,963 jobs in Údarás-supported companies in 2016.

Today's figures show that the employment base in Gaeltacht companies has reached its highest level in seven years. Galway and Cork Gaeltachtaí saw the highest net jobs growth. 

Total sales of Údarás client companies exceeded €900m last year and client companies in sales spent over €420m in the Irish economy.

Údarás na Gaeltachta Chief Executive Steve Ó Cualáin said the growth in client companies is encouraging.

"The success of our strategies is reflected in the fact that our client companies are achieving export growth, with nearly 70% of all sales now being exported," he stated.

The organisation's annual statement also highlighted concerns about the impact Brexit may have on its client-companies. 

A quarter of Údarás client companies export to the UK and nearly 60% of the raw materials used by client companies is imported from the UK. 

A total of 36 businesses were set up in the Gaeltacht last year and over 100 people are employed in these businesses.

The Minister of State for Gaeltacht Affairs, Seán Kyne, believes it is encouraging to see that employment levels in the Gaeltacht are beginning to stabilise. 

Údarás na Gaeltachta will have a central role in implementing the Action Plan for Rural Ireland.