Fianna Fáil Public Health Spokesperson, Mary Butler TD has today introduced legislation to ban tattoos and intimate piercings for juveniles and strengthen health and safety measures for the sector.

The Regulation of Intimate Piercing and Tattooing Bill 2018 is the first statutory regulation of the rapidly growing body art industry in Ireland. This bill aims to fill a clear legal void in Ireland through three main measures:

1. Bans tattoos for under 18s;

2. Bans intimate body piercings for under 18s;

3. Strengthens health and safety regulation in the sector.

Deputy Butler stated, “There has been a massive increase in the number of tattoo and piercing parlours across the country. However, there is no specific legislation in Ireland in relation to the regulation of tattooing and body piercing businesses.

“Although, there is no published data on the prevalence of tattoos among the Irish population, a 2016 review in the medical journal Lancet states that up to 36 per cent of people younger than 40 years have at least one tattoo, with many being first inked between the ages of 16 and 20 years.

“My own husband is a tattoo enthusiast so we know that getting a tattoo is a lifelong decision. Setting an age limit of 18 years effectively legislates for what is best in sector practise and targets rogue operators.

“Intimate body piercing for children has been banned in Wales amid fears it can lead to health issues and make young people vulnerable to abuse. Studies that found complications were reported in more than a quarter of body piercings for individuals aged 16-24.

“Under our bill practitioners are not allowed to carry out or arrange intimate piercings including to the tongue and breasts on anyone under 18. Ears, noses, navels and eyebrows are not covered by the legislation.

“Despite the fact that tattoos have exploded in popularity over the past decade the Government has failed to keep pace and ensure strong health and safety standards.

“We also need to ensure high health and safety standards amongst operators. The risks associated with tattooing and body piercing can range from acute infections to allergic reactions and can occur when the piercing or tattooing equipment becomes contaminated. I have met with representatives from the sector in relation to this bill and the majority of tattoo and piercing parlours operate to high standards and welcome regulation that will remove rogue operators,” concluded Butler.