There will be more Irish emigrants returning home than leaving Ireland next year, the Irish prime minister has said.

Speaking at the Global Irish Economic Forum in Dublin Castle last week, Enda Kenny said that emigration has had a significant impact on the country over the last few years, reports the Irish Independent.

"As Ireland recovers we need these people to come back home to their families, with their families, to share their experiences, bring those experiences back in the taking up of good jobs and to be confident of a bright future here in Ireland," he said.

"I believe that after seven years of emigration, 2016 will be the year when the number of people coming home will be greater than the numbers who leave. In planning for that future we must, and will, keep our public finances under control."

The taoiseach’s statement coincides with a recent Pew Research Center report that found more Mexican immigrants are leaving the U.S. than are coming into the country. Tougher immigration laws have been a factor, but slow economic recovery is also a reason, CNN reports.

At the conference in Dublin, Kenny praised the role of the diaspora and, in particular, the attending delegates.

"It has been with your collaboration, your advice, your support that some of the best initiatives have come to fruition since the first Global Irish Economic Forum. The Gathering started right here," he said.

"That Gathering was proof positive of the valuable contribution; the idea that came from the Global Irish Economic Forum."