The Irish government is to introduce an awards system for outstanding members of the Diaspora, Foreign Minister Eamon Gilmore has announced.

He was speaking at the opening day of the Irish Global Economics Forum in Dublin today. Two hundred and fifty Irish leaders from all over the world have flown in to take part.

President Bill Clinton is among those who will speak to the Forum in a keynote address on Saturday.

Gilmore stated that it was now time for the Irish state to acknowledge the contribution of so many outside Ireland . It was not an honors system he stated, but would give formal recognition.

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Gilmore also announced a new effort to rebuild ireland’s international reputation and new efforts to bolster foreign direct investment, the financial services sector, the promotion of culture abroad, tourism. and assisting exports. Former US president Bill Clinton will speak on the topic of Ireland the the influence of the Irish Diaspora.

Tourism Minister Leo Varadakar will announce  a major new tourism project,”The Gathering,” which is based on the successful “Homecoming Scotland” initiative and which hopes to attract tens of thousands of new tourists back to their roots.

President Mary McAleese will also address the forum in one of her last public engagements before stepping down.