Enda Kenny has revealed that he is targeting more Irish emigrants to return home to Ireland next year, than the number of people that leave.
He was speaking as the government launched its first Diaspora policy this week, the first official recognition of Irish emigrants across the globe.
Kenny said that Ireland needed the mass group of people who have left the country to come home now that the economy is starting to recover.
“We will welcome them. I want to see them playing their part in the rebuilding of our economy, bringing home their experience to take up some of the jobs that are now being created,” he said.
“I believe that, after 7 years of emigration, 2016 will be the year when the number of our people coming home will be greater than the numbers who leave.”
He went on to state that a global conference for emigrants, the Global Irish Economic Forum, was key to seeing the experience and issues faced by members of the Irish community abroad as well as ‘leading influencers’.
He concluded: “The five million voices of this small nation is hugely amplified by the seventy million around the globe who are Irish by birth or descent or desire.
“From the deep economic challenge our country faced just four years ago, we have brought together our extended family. This policy will ensure those bonds will never be broken.”