The Limerick business community has paid tribute to former Finance Minister Michael Noonan for his vital contribution to the city and region’s economic resurgence.
The long-serving Limerick City Fine Gael TD was presented with the President’s award at the Limerick Chamber Regional Business awards on Friday night when he was described as the single biggest influencer of Limerick’s resurgence over recent years, a resurgence that has seen over 9,500 jobs created in the past four years.
Describing Deputy Noonan as an incredible servant of Ireland and Limerick, Chamber President Ken Johnson said that in his role as Finance Minister Mr Noonan, more than anyone else had raised Limerick from its knees.
“He introduced a range of national measures but also local interventions that put it back on the road to recovery, a road that has seen it become Ireland’s greatest urban economic success story and a city that we are now hearing is becoming a model for urban renaissance in Europe. We owe him a debt of gratitude far greater than what we can ever give and the President’s Award is, at least, Limerick Chamber’s acknowledgement of his incredible and positive impact.”
Receiving the award, Deputy Noonan said he was humbled to be honoured in this way in his home city.
“I feel extraordinarily honoured. I have come through a period now since I announced my retirement from cabinet where I get a lot of compliments paid to me in Dublin and abroad but when you get an endorsement by your own people, in this city, by the chamber and the President of the Chamber of Commerce, that’s a singular honour and I feel emotional about it. I’m very pleased, I’m very thankful to the Chamber of Commerce.
“I feel fulfilled, rather than proud. I feel that I had a unique opportunity to be in an Irish cabinet and being a Minister for Finance you can do an awful lot if you set your mind to it. I’m glad I didn’t waste my time in there, and that the bulk of the decision I took helped the recovery of the country from bankruptcy and in that context, since Limerick is a subset of the national economy, the recovery of Limerick as well. I did singular things for Limerick alone and they worked out very well also.
“There is a great start made (in Limerick) and the key ingredient was people pulling together and driving forward. They should continue to do that and there’s an unlimited successful prospect ahead of us, especially with the network of roads going in now – the motorway to Galway in place, the motorway to Cork decided as government priority. That will leave Limerick with an hours commute from Cork people and from Galway people and for everyone in between, and that puts Limerick in a unique position.
“It gives us a unique opportunity to be a bigger and more successful city and a great place to live,” Mr Noonan concluded.
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