The President's speech to the paricipants of the Global Irish Economic Forum delivered at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham.

A chairde Gael agus a chairde na hÉireann ó cheithre harda an domhain, fearaim fíor-chaoin fáilte romhaibh ar fad anseo anocht go dtí an t-ionad breá stairiúil seo. Mar a deirtear sa Ghaeilge, déan mar a dhéanfá sa mbaile.

Taoiseach, Tánaiste, Ministers and distinguished guests welcome to this gathering of Ireland's global Irish family, a gathering that makes sense of and gives perspective to the dispersal and scattering of our family over many generations.

This is a homecoming with echoes of the summers when Irish emigrants returned from abroad to help bring in the harvest, now you come home to help us sow the seeds for a new harvest to come by helping us find creative and workable solutions to the dilemmas we face.

Your presence here is really appreciated for you have come from 37 countries right across the globe, you are each high achievers and key influencers in your own sphere and so you had many other places you could have been but you chose to be here to take part in our second Global Irish Economic Forum.

So whether you are Irish by birth, descent or simply inclination, thank you for putting Ireland so high up your list of priorities. This Forum has a mission to rack your brains individually and collectively, to harness your input as we redeem our current economic narrative by creating new opportunities for trade, investment and employment.

The doldrums of recession and debt are a very unpleasant place to be for so many people and your being here gives them hope as well as visible evidence of the efforts that are being made to generate economic momentum and confidence in Ireland.

Your expertise, skill, strategic acumen and talent, your concern for Ireland and your faith in Ireland are important to us as we muster our best efforts and push through our problems to progress.

In "The Master" Colm Toibín wrote that "it is easier to renounce bravery than to be brave over and over." The Irish people have chosen to be brave over and over, adapting speedily to the rapid changes in fortune, accepting the new era of austerity despite the personal hardships being endured and maintaining their ambition to regenerate our economy and let our country's true potential shine through.

There is real bravery to be seen too in the entrepreneurial spirit that has seen new business open or old businesses expand right in the middle of these daunting times. The impressive lead given for example by our most deep rooted indigenous business sector, the agri-food sector is nothing short of inspiring.

Our increased competitiveness, the increases in our exports of goods and services, the foreign direct investment that is here and still coming into Ireland from global leading edge companies, these tell of a place that is very attractive to business and industry.

We know the strengths we have in our youthful, highly educated labour force with its strong work ethic, its hunger to succeed, its motivation, energy and capacity for innovation. We are proud of how rooted we are in family and community, how naturally we turn strangers into good neighbours who look out for and look after one another.

We are very proud of our lavish and sophisticated cultural reservoir, so ancient on the one hand and yet such a dynamic and evergreen part of the present, with each generation of Irish adding its own layer wherever they are, from Midleton to Moscow, from Butte, Montana to Beijing.

If our culture is transformed as it is by the many manifestations of the global Irish family, President Bill Clinton's participation in the Forum reminds us of the sheer force of that transformative power.

It turned around almost a millennium of baleful conflict ridden history and opened us up to a peaceful future underpinned by a robust architecture of shared structures and mutually acknowledged rights and responsibilities. The recent State visit of Queen Elizabeth II underscored just how far that transformation has taken us and how much has changed for the better and forever.

I have relished the chance to meet our global Irish family in so many parts of the world and will carry into retirement from office a vast store of memories of men and women, often burdened by the emigrants yearning for home, who knuckled down to building new lives, gave their hearts and hands to their adopted homes and gave Ireland the joy of seeing her sons and daughters flourish abroad yet stay faithful to their culture and heritage.

Now their sons and daughters, grandchildren and great great great grandchildren have come back to that homeland to join the meitheal of community effort that is required to harvest the new opportunities that will yield a decent and sustainable prosperity for the Irish people. We are truly fortunate to have you, our Irish clan with us, not simply because you have come to help but because we are interested in you and take pride in your stories of achievement and success.

The old Irish expression says - giorraíonn beirt bothar…. Two shortens the road and you once again are helping shorten Ireland's road to sustainable prosperity.

We are further along the road than when you came for the First Forum…. We are making progress, we are doing our best and now with your help we hope to do even better.

Go raibh míle míle maith agaibh go leir.