The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the United Nations World Food Programme is a fitting tribute to an Irishman who worked for the charity and lost his life in an air crash last year, his mother said.

Micheál Ryan, 39, died alongside seven of his WFP colleagues when an Ethiopian Airlines plane crashed shortly after take-off from Addis Ababa en route to Nairobi.

A total of 157 people were killed in the tragedy on 10 March, 2019.

Mr Ryan, a father-of-two from Lahinch in Co Clare, had been based in Rome while working for the food charity as an engineer.

His mother, Christine Ryan, said the awarding of the Nobel prize to the WFP was a "very suitable memorial" to Micheál and his colleagues who had "given so much and still had so much potential" in their lives.

"This is a very proud day for their families, who lost such valued loved ones," she said.

The World Food Programme is the world's largest humanitarian organisation addressing hunger and food security.

Last year it provided assistance to 100 million people in 88 countries who are victims of acute hunger.

President Michael D Higgins led tributes to Mr Ryan and the other victims following the Ethiopian Airlines disaster last year.

"I express my deep sadness for the tragic loss of so many lives in the air crash in Ethiopia and may I convey the deepest sympathy of the Irish people to all the families and communities affected," he stated.

"In particular I wish to extend my deepest sympathies to the family of Micheál Ryan, whose work in humanitarian assistance for the World Food Programme brought him onto the flight."

Mr Ryan's past projects included creating safe ground for Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh in preparation for the monsoon season.

He also helped assess the damage to rural roads in Nepal caused by landslides.