Noel was first elected to Cork County Council in 1999. He was chairperson of Cork County Council from 2008-2009 and contested the Seanad Election in 2007. He was also a previous Chairman of the South West Regional Authority.
Noel's home town is Castletownbere, Co. Cork. He is married to Catherine and they have three children, Cormac, Declan and Maria. He is very interested in sports, particularly in Gaelic football, hurling, soccer and golf. He still manages to line out for the Castletownbere Junior Football team and is fortunate to have played at right half-back on Bearas Cork County Senior's Championship winning team in 1997. During the winter he can be found on the oche throwing darts for a local team. His favourite films are the Godfather trilogy. He also enjoys reading and has a keen interest in local history.