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Absence of regulation governing tattoo and body piercing businesses ‘an accident waiting to happen’ – Quinlivan

1 November, 2018 - by Maurice Quinlivan TD


Sinn Féin’s Business, Enterprise and Innovation spokesperson, Maurice Quinlivan TD, today said that the total absence of legislation governing tattoo and body piercing businesses in Ireland is a cause for concern and action is needed to regulate this area.

Speaking today, the Limerick City TD said;

“Recently, I have been contacted by a business owner in the tattoo industry who raised concerns about the total lack of regulation in the area.

“This particular business voluntarily follows the standards set down in the north of Ireland, but meeting these standards puts them at a financial disadvantage compared to some unscrupulous businesses that follow no guidelines at all.

“It’s clearly unfair that businesses who are abiding by high standards to benefit their customers are actually losing out.

“Tattooing and body piercing can be very invasive activities, with serious health consequences if carried out incorrectly, and it is shocking to think there are no rules at all governing the training of staff, the age of consent, a person’s medical history or guidance on how to deal with hygiene and needles to prevent the spread of infectious diseases.

“Information I have received through parliamentary questions to the Minister for Health and the Minister for Business show that the regulation of this area has fallen through the cracks, with no Department willing to take full responsibility for the industry.

“The Minister for Health responded to say the Department of Health and the Health Service Executive are finalising guidelines on infection control for use by the tattooing and body piercing industry. This was the same response given three years ago when now Taoiseach Leo Varadkar was Minister for Health.

“The Minister for Business said that ‘as tattoo parlours/body piercing premises do not have a unique NACE (Economic Sector) code, these types of premises cannot be individually identified on the HSA’s inspection database’. This is despite the fact that, in 2017 and 2018, complaints have been lodged with the Health and Safety Authority over the use of dirty tattoo needles.

“Legislation is badly needed to protect consumers and the continued absence of regulation for the tattoo and body piercing businesses is an accident waiting to happen.” 

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