The life science sector was the big winner in the €96.2m provided in grants to industry by the IDA last year.

New figures released by the IDA in response to a Freedom of Information request show that of the top 10 recipients, eight were companies in the Life Science sector reflecting the recent strong jobs growth in the area.

The largest grant of €8.9m went to Abbott Ireland and this followed the company's 2018 announcement of the creation of up to 500 IDA supported jobs at the company’s expanded plant in Donegal town.

The second highest grant amount of €4.8m was made to Wuxi Biologics Ireland.

Last November, the company announced that it is to build a $240 million vaccine production facility on the recently established WuXi Biologics Campus in Dundalk, bringing 200 additional new jobs to the town over five years.

The scale of grants provided by the IDA to industry last year increased by 8.5% from €87.96m to €96.23m.

Other companies to feature in the top 10 include Stryker Ireland - €4.49m; Bristol Myers Squibb (Bio) Cruiserath - €4.2m; Boston Scientific Ireland - €3.89m and  LM Ericsson Ireland - €3.68m.

The figures also show that Depuy Synthes (Ireland) received €3.07m; MetLife innovation Centre Ltd - €3.02m; Genzyme - €2.68m and Edward Lifescience Ireland Ltd - €2.53m.

"As part of our remit to win foreign direct investment to Ireland, IDA Ireland can offer financial support to potential and existing foreign direct investment companies through a number of funding programmes and incentives," the IDA said in a statement accompanying the figures.

"These funding programmes are provided in areas such as research and development, training, employment and capital investment and are operated in strict compliance within EU state rules with the IDA's grant programme."

"In providing grants and supports to new and existing client companies IDA Ireland considers the size of the applicant company, the sector involved, the proposed activity to be undertaken and its location in Ireland, as well as the potential impact on this activity in terms of job creation, collaboration and investment."

The statement concludes: "IDA is fighting hard to win jobs for Ireland in a very competitive international environment –IDA does not comment on individual grants as these are commercially sensitive to the company itself."