Minister for Health Simon Harris has said he wants to make sure women from Northern Ireland can access abortion services in the Republic.

Mr Harris has been meeting representatives of organisations from Northern Ireland who are in favour of abortion.

He said women in Northern Ireland can already access healthcare in Ireland across a range of areas and it is "appropriate and important" that they can access abortion services rather than travel by train or boat to Britain.

Mr Harris said he is working to pass legislation by the Dáil Christmas break with a view to services commencing in January.

He said it is "a matter of great regret" that women on the whole island of Ireland cannot access healthcare in relation to crisis pregnancy situations.

The minister added that the landmark referendum in May ensures the country can care for women with compassion, and as minister he has an obligation to ensure the services are available to women in Northern Ireland.