The Tánaiste and the Minister for Health, Mary Harney, has agreed to meet some of the patients of the former obstetrician Dr Michael Neary.

This is a U-turn on her previous comments when she said she would not meet the women until a report was completed into practices at Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda.

Now it has emerged that she will meet with the women on 9 March in Dublin.

Sheila O'Connor of Patient Focus, the group which represents many of the women concerned, said she was delighted that a meeting would take place soon.

Ms O'Connor said the group hoped for a substantive meeting where they will be pressing for the establishment of a redress board to compensate many of the women involved.

The inquiry is investigating events at the hospital which led to a large number of women having caesarean hysterectomies.

Dr Neary was struck off the register of medical practitioners in 2003 for misconduct.