A former Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces has died.

Lieutenant General Carl O'Sullivan held the position for five years from 1976.

He played a prominent role in many of the ceremonies during the visit of Pope John Paul II in 1979.

A native of Kerry, he was an able footballer as a young man.

In retirement, he was a leading figure in Irish horseracing circles.

General O'Sullivan served in the Southern Brigade, the Military College and overseas in Cyprus.

On his retirement in June 1981 he was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal 1st Grade for his outstanding service to the Defence Forces.

The Minister for Defence Willie O'Dea and the current Chief of Staff, Lieutenant General Dermot Earley have expressed sympathy to General O'Sullivan's wife Maura and his four children, Carl, Geraldine, Eimear and Joan.