PRESIDENT Michael D Higgins has praised the resilience of Irish people in battling through the "great personal hardship" of the economic downturn.
In Mexico before visiting El Salvador and Costa Rica, he met President Enrique Pena Nieto to sign seven bilateral agreements on economy and education.
In a speech at the Irish embassy last night, Mr Higgins acknowledged that "the cost of the banking collapse has been borne largely by our citizens, who have experienced great personal hardship. Yet we have also found great strength in adversity and recovery is now, finally, in sight. This has been made possible through determination, solidarity, creativity and hard work".
The President earlier met privately with Mr Pena Nieto, and had lunch in the Mexican National Palace in Mexico City.
Mr Higgins described Mexico as "one of Ireland's top 20 commercial partners in the world".
He added: "Ladies and gentlemen, Ireland has recently, as you know, been dealing with the impact of a painful recession.
"We are working hard to re-balance our national economy and to return to a path of sustainable and inclusive growth."
The President said Ireland was "emerging slowly – but I hope in a sustainable fashion – from our difficulties. We have returned to real, if as yet modest, growth".
One of the agreements was signed yesterday by aviation entrepreneur Tony Ryan's son, Declan, the vice chairman of VivaAerobus.
A deal worth $8m (€5.8m) was signed by Northern Ireland company Randox Teoranta, with 30 jobs created in Ireland for the pharmaceutical company.
The respective presidents of Dublin City University and the National College of Ireland signed agreements with third-level Mexican colleges concerning student exchanges.
Travelling students contribute substantially to the Irish economy when fees, accommodation and living expenses are taken into account.
Afterwards, Mr Higgins invited Mr Pena Nieto, who governs more than 110 million people, to "pay a return visit to Ireland".