Irish actor Brendan Gleeson believes that Ireland is "essentially the United States of America now," stating that people now flock to the Emerald Isle in search of better opportunities. 

Gleeson, 68, said he is proud of how far Ireland has come in recent years and added that he would like to see Ireland's population reach 10 million in the future. 

"We are essentially the United States of America now, a place where people come to find prosperity, opportunity — to find life," Gleeson told the Irish Independent. 

"OK, we haven’t coped with it. But I don’t remember the American government saying: ‘We’re going to have blanket housing for our incoming immigrants.’ They allowed the market to do it — and what happened was a hell of a lot of misery," he added. 

The Dublin native recalled working on Martin Scorsese's "Gangs of New York," which centers on immigrant tensions in 19th-century New York City. 

"I did 'Gangs of New York,' so I'm not advocating that," Gleeson added.

Gleeson went on to reflect on a realization he had while walking near Dublin's Malahide Castle recently: “I was thinking, this used to belong to one person. It belongs now to a whole plethora of people.

“The people who mostly use it a lot of the time are the foreigners who’ve come over here, and are working here and living here. They love all the public spaces. They access the things that we in Ireland don’t. In Ireland now, we have to start bending it around to what makes people happy.”

He acknowledged that “instead of roaring about everything that’s wrong, I want solutions now."

He went on to say that he hopes for a more inclusive Ireland, adding that he is drawn to "more benign influences" rather than the "brutish, non-communicative" men that he has sometimes played on the big screen. 

Gleeson said Ireland currently enjoys "amazing prosperity," describing it as a "wonderful place, throbbing with opportunity."

"There is so much vibrancy now in Ireland. We have a kind of amazing prosperity. Who knows, it might be over next week, but I think we have to start building towards a population of 10 million," Gleeson told the Independent. 

"We have to start seeing ourselves differently — as a place where we benefited for years from going over to the States, or even to England where there was a booming economy and a need for workers.

"We have this coming to us now. I think it justifies the need for nationhood. I think it justifies all the stuff that we felt was a duty to some sort of a heritage. To me, it’s: ‘Look how far we’ve come.’ It’s a wonderful place, throbbing with opportunity.

"And don’t forget that we have little gems like Irish music."