Ireland’s Catholic bishops have been meeting Pope Francis in the Vatican this morning.

In total, 29 representatives of the island's 26 dioceses are in Rome for ten days of meetings with Vatican officials, which is meant to take place every five years.

However, the Irish bishops' last Ad Limina visit, as it is called, was in 2006.

In 2010, they were summoned to meet Pope Benedict XVI following the publication of the Ryan and Murphy reports on clerical child sexual abuse scandals in Ireland.

The focus of this series of meetings with officials will be reports from each diocese.

Recent popes have held one-to-one meetings with bishops from all countries during their Ad Liminas as well as meeting them them collectively.

However, Pope Francis has streamlined the process and only meets a country's bishops collectively, leaving his officials to conduct detailed discussions with the visitors.

The Association of Catholic Priests has criticised the Irish hierarchy's approach to the gathering as self-serving and irresponsible.