Business, cultural and sporting figures from the Irish community across Britain gathered in London to discuss ways of helping the Irish economy.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin, who chaired the discussion, said the group would provide advice and opportunities for an export-led recovery.

He said the establishment of the Global Irish Network honoured the Government's commitment, made at Farmleigh last September, to listen to and work with those who, though mainly resident abroad, continued to have a strong interest and stake in Ireland and its progress.

Last year 280 members of Ireland's business, cultural and sporting diaspora came together in Dublin at the Government's invitation.

Today's London meeting marked the establishment of the Global Irish Network.

One member of the group Barry Maloney, founder of the venture capital firm Balderton Capital, said that some members of the group had a lot of experience in the financial services area and a lot of thoughts about putting Ireland's banking system on the road to recovery.

Mr Martin announced his intention to organise a series of similar Global Irish Network meetings in other parts of the world.

He said one of its main objectives would be to act as an additional resource for the Government and State agencies in promoting Ireland's economic, cultural and tourism messages in key markets.