The Minister for Health has said women in Northern Ireland will be able to access abortion services in the Republic when the legislation is introduced here. 

Speaking in Belfast this evening Simon Harris said his concern for a woman's right to access health services in crisis pregnancies situations does not stop at the border.

He said while he respects the abortion law in northern Ireland he hopes it is addressed in the near future. 

Britain's Abortion Act does not extend to Northern Ireland and an abortion is only allowed if a woman's life is at risk, or if there is a serious or permanent risk to her mental health.

Minister Harris said he intends to ensure that women there will be able to access such services in the Republic, like they can any other health services here. 

Speaking at Féile an Phobail in Belfast, Minister Harris said, "Last year at least 919 women from Northern Ireland travelled to England and Wales to access abortion services. This is a reality for women in Northern Ireland and one that I really hope their politicians address".

He said "In recent months the Irish people have addressed this issue through our referendum to repeal the 8th amendment. I now intend to bring in legislation to give effect to this decision in the Autumn". .

Last month, over one hundred politicians from across Ireland and the UK signed a letter urging the British and Irish governments to act to reform the laws surrounding abortion in Northern Ireland.

Earlier this year, a United Nations committee said the UK violates women's rights in Northern Ireland by unduly restricting their access to abortion.