AN IDEA spawned by a conversation an Irish economist had with an Israeli banker 15 years ago will come to fruition this week when more than 150 leading members of an Irish entrepreneurial diaspora come to Dublin for a special conference.

Business people from as far away as China, Australia and South America will attend the government's economic forum at Farmleigh from Friday until Sunday.

The Global Irish Economic Forum will bring together some of the most influential members of the global Irish community to explore methods of renewing the Irish economy.

The idea is the brainchild of economist David McWilliams and he explained. "It stems from about 15 years ago when I worked in Israel," he explained. "I used to work with this old Israeli guy. He did business all over the world and he used to say that no matter where he went in the world to do business there were always Irish and Jews sitting at the end of the table.

"He asked me, 'What do you do with your Irish abroad? Our best resource is the fact that we have Jews all over the world.'" McWilliams said he later "rang up [foreign affairs minister] Micheál Martin and suggested inviting the diaspora back to help rescue the economy".

Taoiseach Brian Cowen and the cabinet will be attending the event with a host of names including secretary general of the European Commission Catherine Day, Martin Naughton of Glen Dimplex Group, Denis O'Brien of INM and Digicel, and US ambassador Dan Rooney.