Former secretary to the government Dermot McCarthy has been ordained a permanent deacon by Archbishop Diarmuid Martin.

Seven other men were ordained to the deaconate at a ceremony this morning in Dublin's Pro Cathedral.

Seven of the new deacons are married and one is widowed. The men were accompanied at the ceremony by family members.

It brings to 30 the number of permanent deacons in the country's largest diocese.

Deacons can celebrate baptism and marriage and preside at funerals.

They also facilitate visiting the sick, prisoners and the bereaved and promoting awareness of the social teaching of the church.

In the Catholic Church, deacons must be male and their ministry is voluntary and part-time.

However, if deacons have taken early retirement or reduced their work commitments they may be able to offer a greater time commitment.