There is no licensing or regulation of the tattooing or body piercing industries in Ireland and there are currently no plans to introduce regulation or legislation in the area of tattooing and body piercing.
However, where a tattoo or body piercing business has been implicated as a possible source in a case of a confirmed scheduled notifiable disease, such cases can be investigated by the HSE Environmental Health Service in conjunction with the HSE Public Health Service under the provisions of S.I. No. 390/1981 - Infectious Diseases Regulations 1981 and Infectious Diseases (Amendment) Regulations 2016 (S.I. No. 276 of 2016).
In the absence of a statutory framework being in place, this Department and the Health Service Executive took the initiative to develop guidelines in relation to tattooing and body piercing industry - these guidelines are currently in the process of being finalised. It is anticipated that the publication of this Guidance will promote and enhance evidence based best practice in hygiene standards and infection control. Discussions will be held shortly with the Health Service Executive in relation to publication, dissemination and support following publication of the guidance document. Given the absence of a clear statutory framework and the need to obtain expert views in relation to the area, some delays arose in relation to finalising the final text of the guidelines - however, it is expected that they will be published shortly. Once published, this guidance document will set out a standard of practice in relation to infection prevention and control which all operators should adhere to. This will help to drive up standards and provide a safe environment for clients and practitioners.