The Catholic Archbishop of Tuam has formally submitted his resignation to the Vatican.

Dr Michael Neary recently celebrated his 75th birthday. On reaching that age, it is mandatory under Canon Law for bishops to offer their resignation to Pope Francis.

Dr Neary has served as archbishop for 26 years.

Born in Castlebar, Co Mayo, he was ordained in 1971 and held a number of teaching and clerical roles both in Ireland and Italy, until his appointment as Auxiliary Bishop of Tuam in 1992.

Dr Neary was named archbishop in January 1995.

He will continue to serve in the role until his successor is appointed by Pope Francis.

There is no time frame for that announcement.

In recent times, it has taken anything from one month to five years for episcopal vacancies to be filled in Ireland.