Taoiseach Enda Kenny is to meet Pope Francis next week, it has been announced.

The Taoiseach will use the occasion to encourage the pontiff to visit Ireland in 2018, when Dublin hosts the World Meeting of Families, a three-yearly gathering of the Catholic Church.

A Government spokesman said: "He will express the full support of the Government for the invitation by the Irish Bishops Conference to Pope Francis to visit Ireland in the context of that meeting and assure the Pope that the normal state courtesies and support will be extended to him if he decides to come to Ireland.

"They are also expected to discuss a number of issues of mutual and global interest, including bilateral relations, developments in the European Union and migration."

The pair are to meet in the Apostolic Palace in the Vatican on 28 November.

Irish bishops have already formally invited Pope Francis to attend the World Meeting of Families in August 2018.