The number of IDA Ireland-sponsored visits by overseas investors last year soared by 57% to 565.
Figures released by the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton show the number of IDA visits rose 206 from 359 in 2015.
The data shows that the dominance of Dublin waned significantly as the IDA oversaw a much greater geographical spread in the site visits last year.
In 2014, Dublin accounted for 57% of all site visits.
Last year, the 242 site visits to Dublin represented 43% of the overall total.
The figures also show that the number of counties completely bypassed by overseas investors dropped sharply last year.
In 2014, there were no IDA sponsored visits to counties Laois, Longford, Monaghan and Roscommon. However, only Cavan was bypassed last year.
The figures show Cork received the second highest amount with 48 site visits followed by 41 to Galway and 40 to Limerick.
— IDA Ireland (@IDAIRELAND) January 22, 2016
In a written Dáil reply to Fianna Fáil TD Dara Calleary, Mr Bruton confirmed Waterford hosted 31 visitors with Co Westmeath hosting 28.
Those to host five or less were counties Donegal (5), Laois and Wexford (4), Mayo (3), and Longford, Monaghan and Roscommon (2).
In a statement accompanying the figures, Mr Bruton said: “It is important to note that data on site visits is not a true measure of the level of foreign direct investment activity in a region or county.
"Approximately 70% of all foreign direct investment investment won by IDA Ireland comes from its existing client base.
“Working with stakeholders is exceptionally important in positioning any regional location to attract foreign direct investment and IDA Ireland continues to do so, as well as working with existing clients in all regional locations.
“While IDA Ireland does attempt to influence the choice of location, the final decision as to where to visit, and ultimately where to locate, is taken in all cases by the investor,” he added.
Last year saw a 66% rise in net job creation among IDA Ireland client firms, with a record level of 11,833 created; something which showed the true measure of Ireland’s foreign direct investment success, Mr Bruton said.
At the recent publication of the IDA’s 2015 results, the agency’s chief executive Martin Shanahan said the pipeline for additional investment and job creation, for the first quarter of 2016 is strong.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved