IDA Ireland secured 140 investments during the first half of 2019, with 13,500 jobs expected to be created as a result.

That represents a 19% increase on the same period of last year, with a particularly strong performance recorded in the technology, financial services and life sciences sectors.

The planned creation of 1,500 jobs by Salesforce in Dublin represents the biggest single investment secured during the period.

IDA Ireland said there had also been a 32% increase in regional investment since its current five-year strategy begin in 2015.

During that period, 455 investments had been secured for regional areas.

Regional investments during the first half of 2019 include the creation of 150 jobs in Castlebar, Co Mayo by Meissner and 150 jobs created by Rent The Runway in Galway.

During the six-month period, Valeo also invested €44m and created an additional 50 jobs in Tuam, while GrandPad set up its European headquarters in Gorey with the creation of 75 jobs.

JRI America added 100 roles at its technology centre in Tralee, while Allergan created 63 roles in Westport and J&J Visioncare added 100 jobs in Limerick.

IDA Ireland said that almost 27,000 jobs had been added outside of Dublin between 2015 and 2018.

By the end of last year, IDA Ireland client companies employed 229,057 people across the country, representing 10% of the country's total workforce.

However the agency also acknowledged the challenges facing the Irish economy in the coming months.

That includes the impact of Brexit and a feared global economic slowdown, as well as moves to change the international tax rules around digital products and services.

Alongside its mid-year results, IDA Ireland also announced that its CEO Martin Shanahan has renewed his contract with the organisation, which will see him continue in the role until 2024.

Mr Shanahan said today that the market for foreign investment is evolving at a rapid pace and has never been as competitive.

He added that "none of IDA Ireland's projects are easily won". 

"IDA Ireland has consistently said that unless Ireland stays competitive, we will not continue to see these investment numbers, it's as simple as that. Ireland cannot be complacent about its competitiveness," the IDA CEO said.

"There needs to be a continued relentless focus on competitiveness and IDA Ireland will continue to work with Government to ensure that those areas prioritised by investors are addressed," he added.

Mr Shanahan also said that while the immediate outlook to year end 2019 looks positive, there are significant downside risks to FDI in the medium term.

These include the potential softening of growth in the global economy, the impacts of Brexit within Europe, escalating international trade tensions and the country's own competitiveness.