The Environment Minister says the Government has to lead by example

All public bodies will stop purchasing single-use plastic cups, cutlery and straws by the end of March.

The Environment Minister has announced the plans as part of a move towards "greener" policies.

Government departments will implement the ban on single-use plastics from today, while it'll be extended to all public bodies - including state agencies and schools - over the next few months.

Exceptions will be made when there are public health or safety issues.

Minister Richard Bruton says the Government has to lead by example.

He observed: "The reality is that every one of us is going to have to change our lifestyle to adapt to the challenge of climate disruption.

"If the Government doesn't show that it takes these policies extremely seriously, how can we turn around to other people and ask them to change the way they live?"