DUP leader Arlene Foster will not be attending the upcoming visit of Pope Francis to Ireland.

Mrs Foster has said she has received an invitation from the Irish Government to an address by Pope Francis in Dublin Castle on Saturday 25 August.

Ms Foster said she appreciates the invitation but regretfully will be away with her family at that time. 

The former first minister said she particularly acknowledges the significance of this event for many Roman Catholics in both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.

The DUP was founded by Ian Paisley, who declared Pope John Paul II the anti-christ when he addressed the European Parliament in 1988.

Mrs Foster has previously met the head of the Catholic church in Ireland, Archbishop of Armagh Eamon Martin.

Meanwhile, the leader of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland has said he hopes to meet the pope when he travels to Dublin next week.

Moderator Dr Charles McMullen is attending a State reception for the pontiff at Dublin Castle on 25 August.

Dr McMullen will also be present, at the invitation of Catholic Archbishop Eamon Martin, at the Festival of Families in Croke Park that evening, which Pope Francis will attend.

Dr McMullen said: "The visit of Pope Francis to Ireland for the World Meeting of Families will greatly enhance the affirmation of the place of the family at the heart of society and that has to be a good thing.

"I am personally very pleased that our church has been able to accept the invitation to the reception and I am looking forward to it.

"Should there be an opportunity to meet Pope Francis in Dublin Castle, I would also very much welcome that in the context of building good relations."

Additional reporting: PA