The death has occurred in Co Limerick of the former Fianna Fáil Minister, Michael J Noonan. He was 78.

A native of Bruff Co Limerick he entered public life in 1967, when he was elected to Limerick County Council, where he served as a member until 1991.

He was elected to the Dáil as a Fianna Fail TD in the constituency of Limerick West on his first attempt in 1969 and served as a TD until the election of 1997.

Mr Noonan was a supporter of former Fianna Fáil leader Charles Haughey and was appointed party spokesperson on Agriculture in 1983. He was appointed Minister for Defence in the Government lead by Mr Haughey in 1987.

However he was demoted to Minister of State in 1989, after Fianna Fáil went into coalition with the Progressive Democrats.

He retired from public life in 1997, after which he dedicated himself to voluntary service for a number of organisations in Co Limerick.

He died at Milford Hospice after a long illness. He is survived by his wife Helen, his four daughters Marie, Anne, Catherine and Carmel, and by his sons John and Pat.