The Department of Health has said that at least 257 applications have been received so far for the Government's Symphysiotomy Payment Scheme.

It said many of the applications are from women in their late 80s or early 90s.

Applications are being assessed by former High Court judge Maureen Harding Clark.

The scheme has around €34 million available and participants will receive awards at three levels - €50,000, €100,000 and €150,000.

Meanwhile, Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams has called on the Government to scrap the 5 December deadline it has set for the scheme.