Awards ceremony for Irish Diaspora
Irish people abroad are to be honoured in a new annual awards ceremony for outstanding service to the country.
Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore said the system would formally recognise individuals of the Irish Diaspora for sustained and distinguished service to Ireland or Irish communities abroad.
"Irish people have rightly taken pride in the achievements of our people abroad and of their contribution to this nation's development," he said.
"I believe that it is now time for the State to reflect this pride by establishing a formal way in which the outstanding contribution made to this country and our people abroad by individual members of the Irish Diaspora can be acknowledged, and celebrated."
Speaking to 270 participants at the second Global Irish Economic Forum in Dublin Castle, Mr Gilmore said he would shortly bring detailed proposals on the awards system to Government.
The two-day gathering brings together influential business and cultural leaders from the Irish Diaspora around the world in an initiative to help Ireland's economic recovery.
Among those attending are Hilary and W Galen Weston, Irial Finan of Coca-Cola, PJ Hough, corporate vice- president of Microsoft and Peter Sutherland of Goldman Sachs.
Businessmen Dermot Desmond and Denis O'Brien as well as Willie Walsh, chief executive of International Airlines, are also at the talks, which will be addressed by former US President Bill Clinton on Saturday.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny told delegates it was an outstanding opportunity to set out a platform for a new beginning for the country.
He said: "My vision is to make Ireland the best small country in the world in which to do business by 2016. To make my country synonymous with genius, with entrepreneurship, with vision and innovation. I intend to make that vision a reality."