Just 4 studios were inspected in the past 10 years

There are calls on the government to introduce a regulation body for the tattoo and body piercing industry.

There are around 1,000 unregulated tattoo studios around the country compared to just 20, two decades ago.

Currently anyone could set up a tattoo parlour - with no basic training requirements for staff, and no age of consent or medical history required of those availing of the services.

It comes as figures from the Irish Times revealed that just 4 studios were inspected by health authorities in the past ten years.

Kevin McNamara from Dublin Ink says they have to set their own high standards: 'All needles and equipment are single use and disposable. Any tools that need to be cleaned, they are put through an ultra-sonic machine, the ones they use in hospitals.

He says any good artist would welcome regulations: 'If you're any way conscious of your customer's health and you own health you would welcome regulations. Tattoo studios being unregulated puts customer and artist at risk.'

The Health Minister says he's currently working with the HSE on developing guidelines for the industry.

In response to a parliamentary question, Simon Harris said: 'There is no specific legislation in Ireland in relation to the regulation of tattooing and body piercing businesses. However, they are required to comply with public health as well as health and safety legislation in the same way as any other business. In the absence of sector specific regulation, my Department and the Health Service Executive are finalising guidelines on infection control for use by the tattooing and body piercing industry. The purpose of this document is to provide guidance in relation to infection control, and is aimed at achieving the highest standards of safety and prevention. It will also provide information concerning best practice to people who are considering getting a tattoo or body piercing when choosing an operator.'