News & Media

European approval welcome on Ireland's bid to ban microbeads

24 October 2019

Statement by Sean Sherlock TD
Spokesperson on Justice, Children and Youth Affairs

Reacting to the announcement that the European Commission has given approval for Ireland to ban microbeads in personal care and cleaning products, Labour TD Seán Sherlock said:

“I welcome news from Europe that Ireland has been given the green light to ban the use of plastic microbeads from personal care and cleaning products, among other substances.

“This is something we in the Labour Party have been calling for, for some time, having introduced our own legislation to ban microbeads as far back as 2016.

“While I’m obviously disappointed by the length of time it took for the Government to progress it’s own legislation on the issue, it is welcome nonetheless that we now look to be a step closer to Ireland becoming the first country in Europe to banning microbeads from cleaning products as well as personal grooming products.

“As I’ve long argued, the use of microbeads in these products is not only entirely unnecessary, but completely harmful to the marine environment.

“It was quite shocking to hear from experts who appeared before the Climate Change Committee last year about the level of pollution on a number of beaches in the west of Ireland on which the sand was made up entirely of tiny pieces of plastic.

“There have also been  studies done on the harm these plastics can cause to marine life, leading to physical harm and reproductive or toxic effects.

“As an island nation Ireland needs to act now to ban the use of microbeads in all these products. There is no more time to waste, and with approval received from the European Commission on the matter, the Government must follow through on it’s commitment.”