Former minister for finance Michael Noonan has been honoured with a lifetime achievement award in his native Limerick at the city's annual People of the Year awards.

Mr Noonan has been a TD since 1981, became a minister when he was still in his 30s, and served in a number of ministries over 30 years, before he served as minister for finance for six years from 2011.

He was acknowledged for his work on bringing Ireland out of the bailout and for playing a leadership role in the resurgence of Limerick.

His long-time friend Tim O'Connor, who worked as an Irish diplomat, said he was also hugely regarded in Europe, but was always rooted in his home place.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, in a televised message, said Mr Noonan was "in a class of his own" and he had earned his place in history as one of the best ministers of finance the State had ever seen.

Mr Noonan said he was emotional and honoured by the award.

He said you can be honoured in many parts of the world, but to get an honour in your own place is very special.