The Minister for Health and the Medical Missionaries of Mary are at odds tonight over the sisters' proposed contribution to the redress scheme for patients of disgraced obstetrician, Dr Michael Neary.

Apart from insurance, a direct offer by the nuns of €2m was rejected because of the conditions attached.

Health Minister Mary Harney wants the nuns to make a larger contribution.

Under the scheme agreed today, more than €40m will be paid out to more than 170 women whose wombs or ovaries were removed.

Ms Harney also put pressure on the former owners of the Lourdes Hospital in Drogheda, where Dr Neary worked, to increase their proposed contribution to the scheme.

The minister said the missionary sisters should consider refunding the purchase price they received when they sold the hospital to the North Eastern Health Board in 1997.

Mary Harney said no agreement was reached with Michael Neary's Insurers, the Medical Defence Union.

Under the scheme announced, women who underwent unplanned and unwarranted hysterectomies will be entitled to apply for compensation.

The scheme is extended to cover women who had their ovaries removed.

Applicants will be required to provide an independent report confirming their surgery was medically unwarranted.

An exception will be made for those whose medical records are missing.

Only former patients of Dr Neary will be dealt with under this scheme.

Women who have already been compensated through the courts and those who agreed to undergo elective surgical procedures will not be entitled to apply.

The points awarded will be determined by the woman's age, the number of children she had and the organs removed during the operation.

Applicants will have 60 days from the day the redress board is set up to apply for compensation.
Compensation will be calculated on the points system and payments will range from €60,000 to €380,000.