Former taoiseach Brian Cowen has been conferred with an honorary doctorate by the National University of Ireland.

At a ceremony in Dublin castle Mr Cowen said he regretted the loss of employment for so many people during the recession.

Mr Cowen served as taoiseach from May 2008 until early 2011, when he announces his resignation as leader of Fianna Fáil and did not stand in that year's general election.

He also said that the Fianna Fáil-Green government had introduced a comprehensive set of policies that had laid the foundations for the return of growth by 2011 and the exceptionable growth in jobs in the last few years