Ireland's first female consultant neurosurgeon has said she hopes that she can inspire others.

Dr Catherine Moran, who works at Beaumont Hospital in Dublin, said that she is excited to be the first female in the role.

"I think it's important for medical students, people in training and people at school who are wondering what they want to do with their careers.

"Even if it's in your subconscious, when you see somebody in a role that it becomes more normal."

Dr Moran said she has been lucky, adding that she thinks if you are really focused and committed people want you to stay.

She also said she has been encouraged by her bosses and has had mentors that really want to her to succeed, but said women need to increase their numbers.

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Dr Moran said part of the reason there have been no women in the role in Ireland up to now was that people thought that it was a male field.

She said there is also an attrition rate within training. "90 hour weeks when you are training, certainly for me at the beginning was the norm. It's pretty difficult to have a work-life balance with it."

The hours can be pretty unpredictable and she thinks that for training that is difficult for women.

She said the Royal College of Surgeons has put in a bit effort in recent years to entice more women into surgery and to keep them when they are in training such as making maternity leave more flexible and encouraging female fellowships.

Dr Moran said her colleagues have been very supportive but with patients it is not unusual for someone to ask her if she is doing the surgery.

"They just don't expect this face as their consultant neurosurgeon. It's not something that I find offensive."