Irish president Michael D Higgins paid tribute to the Irish diaspora in his inaugural St. Patrick’s Day greeting on Monday.
Speaking ahead of the national March 17 holiday, Higgins referred to the tens of thousands of Irish people who were forced to emigrate due to the recession.
"On this day, we think in particular of those Irish men and women who, over recent years, have been separated from their homeland through involuntary emigration," he said.
"While wishing them happy and fulfilled lives in their new countries, we firmly hope that economic circumstances will in time allow them to consider returning home to Ireland."
He said we must remember the "Irish are an enterprising and resilient people".
He concluded: “All of the Irish and those who are with them, wherever they may be and in whatever circumstances, are in all our thoughts on this day we share with the world. I wish all of you a very happy and peaceful St Patrick's Day”.
A glimpse inside Ireland’s historic ghost villages (PHOTOS)