Sinn Féin's health spokesperson has called for a "central approach" for women who are suffering from the side-effects of transvaginal mesh implants.

The surgery is the implantation of a device to help counter stress urinary incontinence.

Speaking in the Dáil, Louise O'Reilly also called for a retrospective audit of those with the mesh device in Ireland.

RTÉ’s Prime Time reported on women who are suffering from side-effects as a result of the implants.

Today, a group of women called for a suspension of the use of transvaginal mesh and an inquiry into its effects.

Leslee Ann Stevens, 39, and from Carlow, said she is now walking with a stick and unable to drive as a result of issues caused by the procedure.

Melanie Power of Powers Solicitors said more than 100 women have contacted her about complications they have suffered as a result of the transvaginal mesh.

The group met TDs to highlight their concerns and were joined by a doctor from the UK's National Health Service who is calling for the suspension of the use of the device.

Dr Wael Agur said several countries have already banned or reduced their use of the procedure, and that cases of complications are not limited to Ireland.

The HSE said more than 700 women were discharged from hospitals in Ireland last year after having a sling procedure for stress incontinence, but it is not possible to say how many of these had the transvaginal mesh implanted.

There were 29 reports of problems with the device made to the Health Products Regulatory Authority (HPRA).

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar expressed sympathy and concern "with any patient who have any complications as a result of an operation or a procedure in the past".

He said he had not seen last night's Prime Time programme, but had read "something about the issue" in the papers and in the media. However, he said he was not an expert on the subject.

Mr Varadkar said he would be guided by the best medical advice from obstetricians and gynecologists in the area, adding it was not up to the Government but the HPRA to approve medical devices.

Ms O'Reilly said she raised the matter with Minister for Health Simon Harris previously, who said he was not aware of the issue until he saw it in the media.

She described the response by Mr Harris as "odd" and expressed concern that his officials did not brief him on the matter.

The Taoiseach said he could not answer for the Minister for Health directly. However, he said the HSE and the Department of Health would consider the matter based on domestic and international evidence.

He said any response from the Government, the HSE or the Department of Health will be "compassionate, understanding and respectful".

Today, Mr Harris said he wanted to ensure that the use of the devices and the clinical management of women who have had them fitted were in line with international best practice.

He has asked the Chief Medical Officer to report on the issue and that work is now under way.