Former Irish ambassador to the US and France Pádraig MacKernan has died at the age of 69.

Born in Limerick in 1940, Mr MacKernan joined the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1964. The following year he was posted to the US where he served in Boston and New York.

When the crisis in Northern Ireland began in 1969, he helped draft the Irish case for the UN Security Council and also visited Washington and Ottawa to enlist US and Canadian support for the Irish position.

Mr MacKernan returned to Dublin in 1974 to develop Ireland's role in Europe. He was appointed Irish Ambassador to the US in 1985 and played a key role in securing Congressional support for the Anglo-Irish Agreement.

He was appointed as secretary general at the Department of Foreign Affairs in 1995, where he was involved in a public dispute with the Minister for Foreign Affairs David Andrews over staffing issues.

His final posting was Ambassador to France in 2001, where he served until his retirement in 2005.

Mr MacKernan is survived by his wife Caitríona, and sons Dónal, Colm and Dara.