Over 2,000 people attended the first ever Laois Jobs Fair, which was organised by Laois Chamber of Commerce to highlight the benefits of working and living locally. 

Hundreds of jobs are on offer across the region, with companies like Glanbia, Trifol, Greenfield Global, Enva and Supermac's. 

The new Supermac's Motorway Plaza in Portlaoise, which is due to open in May, will see 120 jobs coming on stream. 

Speaking on Morning Ireland, CEO of Laois Chamber Bernie Everard said the Jobs Fair had been a huge success, with a number of job offers issued and many interviews scheduled for the coming weeks. 

"Positions are on offer from more than 35 companies, diverse jobs in engineering, manufacturing, marketing, HR, logistics, customer care, healthcare, IT and hospitality, as well as positions in new media and languages," she said. 

12,000 people leave Co Laois every day to work in other counties.  

Ms Everard said she hopes the event showcased what the area has to offer and will encourage people to seek out jobs in the area in which they live. 

"When workers face long commutes, they can't be as productive, it takes a huge toll on them, their families and their overall quality of life. We want local jobs for people who live locally," she said.

One such worker who knows all about the stress of commuting is Dubliner Ciaran O'Neill. He relocated to Laois with his young family last year. 

Mr O'Neill said the move changed all their lives for the better. "It was the best thing we ever did. When we lived in Dublin we faced a three to four hour daily commute to get to work and it was tiring and extremely stressful. 

"We were literally going from work to bed, and had very little downtime and family life. Moving to Portlaoise slowed us to breathe again; I run my own web design company, Jamorano Design, and my wife Teresa works for Irish Steel and is literally a two minute drive away from work," he said. 

"Our little boy sees so much more of us and we now have time to enjoy life," he added.