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New bill proposes ban on tattoos and intimate piercings for under 18s

The Bill has been brought forward by Fianna Fáil public health spokesperson Mary Butler TD.

Image: Shutterstock/Nejron Photo

LEGISLATION HAS BEEN introduced to ban tattoos and intimate piercings for people under the age of 18. 

The Regulation and Intimate Piercing and Tattooing Bill 2018 has been brought forward by Fianna Fáil public health spokesperson Mary Butler TD. 

It is the first statutory regulation of the body art industry in Ireland. 

The bill aims to do three things: 

  • Ban tattoos for people under the age of 18
  • Ban intimate piercings for people under the age of 18
  • Strengthen health and safety regulation in the sector

“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 and in relation to the regulation of tattooing and body piercing businesses,” Butler said. 

Bulter noted that her own husband is a “tattoo enthusiast” and she understands that “getting a tattoo is a lifelong decision”. 

Setting an age limit of 18 years legislates for what is best in sector practice and targets rogue operators, Butler claimed. 

“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,” she said. 

“Under our bill, practitioners are not allowed to carry out or arrange piercings including to the tongue and breasts on anyone under 18,” she added. 

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,” Butler said. 

“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,” she said. 

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