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).
With respect to consent, including the age of consent, under the Non-Fatal Offences against the Person Act, 1997, and the Criminal Law (Amendment) Act, 1935, tattooing and body piercing may be construed as a criminal offence if proper informed consent is not obtained; or in the case of minors, if tattooing or body piercing is carried out on certain parts of the body, with or without consent. Consequently, any queries relating to these issues would be a matter for An Garda Síochána and the Department of Justice and Equality.
In the absence of a statutory framework being in place, this Department and the Health Service Executive are developing guidelines in relation to tattooing and body piercing industry. It is anticipated that the publication of this Guidance will promote and enhance evidence based best practice in hygiene standards and infection control. 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.