Ireland's Ambassador to the UK has accused a British political magazine of publishing snide and hostile articles about Ireland.

In an unusual step Adrian O'Neill has written an open letter to the editor of The Spectator magazine.

He said that criticism of the Irish Government's approach to Brexit by the magazine had "lapsed into an anti-Irish sentiment which we all hoped had been consigned to the past."

Mr O'Neill cited the example of a recent article about Ireland joining the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie.

Described by some as the French Commonwealth, its members co-operate in the fields of culture, science, economics and justice.

Ireland is one of 17 EU Member States that are either members or observers of the organisation.

A piece in The Spectator by Robert Hardman suggested that Ireland should instead have rejoined the Commonwealth.

He then added that: "Only the mean-spirited would suggest that little Leo will do anything to suck up to the top gang in the EU playground…"

The Spectator is a political and arts magazine whose editorial outlook is generally sympathetic to the Conservative Party.

Former British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson was previously the magazine's editor for more than five years.