Women who received defective breast implants have been told they will not have to pay to have them removed and that removal surgeries will begin next month.

In total around 1,500 Irish women have been affected by the French-made PIP implants which contained industrial grade silicon gel.

Around 200 of them attended an information meeting in Dublin today.

They heard that Harley Medical Group, which carried out most of the original procedures, has now committed to remove the implants free of charge.

However, if women want other implants, they will have to pay a reduced fee.

The removal surgeries are expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Two other clinics also carried out the original procedures; Clane Hospital in Kildare and Shandon Street Hospital in Cork

A Department of Health spokesperson said today that the department is in ongoing discussions with the three relevant clinics and that talks will continue until a satisfactory outcome is reached for all.

A care plan is being finalised, a spokesperson said, and those concerned will be notified once it is completed.