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Ireland

Ireland (Éire) occupies about five-sixths of the island of Ireland and has a population of 4.6 million. It has land area of approx. 7 million hectares, of which about 4 million hectares is used for agriculture or approx. 64% of total land area.

Having gained independence in 1922, the name Ireland was adopted in 1937 and it was declared a republic in 1949. The Oireachtas (parliament)is bicameral with an upper house, Seanad Éireann (Senate) with 60 elected or nominated members, and a lower house, Dáil Éireann (House of Representatives) composed of 166 elected respresentatives. Executive power is vested in the Government, which is appointed by the President (a largely non-executive post) with the approval of Dáil Éireann.
The judicial system comprises courts of first instance, which includes a High Court and courts of local and limited jurisdiction and a court of final appeal, the Supreme Court. Local Government is organised on two levels with 34 County or City Councils forming the upper tier and 80 Town and Borough Councils the lower tier.
Ireland joined the European Union in 1973 and shares a common travel area with the United Kingdom.

Organisational Structure and Background

While ultimate responsibility for Legal Metrology policy and direction remains with the central government Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, the Director of Legal Metrology is charged through legislation with overall implementation functions which rest with the National Standard Authority of Ireland (NSAI). The NSAI is a non-commercial state owned body with responsibility for standardisation, metrology and certification.
The Metrology Acts 1996-1998 provide for controls on units of measurement, conformity assessment of measuring instruments used in trade and, prepackaged products and loose goods with concurrent sanctions for legislative breaches. The Acts also provide for the Minister and the Director to make regulations and for the prosecution of offences for legislative breaches. The NSAI inspectorate division, currently comprises 21 staff members, work out of the NSAI headquarters and seven regional centres.

Legal metrology enforcement is funded principally through a mix of government grant and income generated from verfication.

Equipment Subject to National Controls

  • fuel pumps for petrol and diesel,
  • weighing instruments in shops,
  • home heating oil meters on delivery tankers,
  • weighbridges for vehicles and animals,
  • bench scales and industrial platform scales
  • overhead track scales
  • beltweighers
  • automatic checkweighers
  • automatic gravimetric fillers
  • weigh price labellers
  • refuse weighers
  • milk meters on collection tankers,
  • taximeters,
  • intoxicating liquor dispensers,
  • capacity measures used in pubs and hotels

 

Type Approval

National type approval can be provided by legislation for instruments that are not covered by the NAWI directive or MID. Approval requires the examination and evaluation of the instrument against procedures based on international referenced documents such as OIML recommendations. Cognisance is taken of existing test reports and certificates under the principal of mutual recognition. Type approval certificates are available free of charge. The principal instrument type currently subject to national approval is intoxicating liquor dispensers.

Initial Verification

National initial verification is carried out for approved taximeter systems when installed in motor vehicles and for intoxicating liquor instruments subject to national type approval. Private bodies are permitted to undertake national initial verification through a service concession agreement opened periodically by public tender. The standard period of appointment is five years.

Inspection and Re-verification

All controlled instruments are subject to inspection in service for which there is no charge. Errors allowed for measuring instruments in service are detailed in regulations and, except of a few categories, are generally double the tolerances on first use.
Re-verification is required where an instrument has been repaired or adjusted, normally evident by breaking the official security seal. Tolerances for reverification are those that apply on first use.

Official prescribed marks, including CE marking and supplementary metrology marking, are used to recoginse the status of instruments in use.

Private bodies are permitted to undertake national reverification through a service concession agreement opened periodically by public tender. The standard period of appointment is five years.

Legal Metrology Practitioners

Inspectors are recruited with technical qualifications in physical science or engineering. Training is provided for administrative, legal, health and safety during the introductory period and ongoing when fully certified as an inspector. There is no external formal training course for inspectors in Ireland.

Inspectors duties in addition to techncial and metrological examinsation of instruments includes investigation and reporting of potential breaches of the Acts and advising traders of their obligations and responsibilities. Consumers who have doubts or suspicions about measuring instruments or product quantities can report such suspicions for the attention of the inspectorate.

Sanctions

There is no system of administrative penalties for breaches of metrological requirements. Inspectors may issue written notices to traders requiring equipment to be corrected within a specified period, up to 28 days.

The Director of Legal Metrology may prosecute for summary offences and the following penalties may be imposed by the courts:
- Summary conviction: up to €4,000 or 12 months imprisonment or both.
- Conviction on Indictment:up to €22,200 or 2 years imprisonment or both.

NAWI and MID

The European Directive 98/384/EEC for non-automatic weighing instruments was transposed into Irish law by Statutory Instrument No. 424 of 1992, the European Communities (Non-automatic Weighing Instruments) Regulations 1992.  The European Directive on measuring instruments 2004/22/EC was transposed into Irish law by Statutory Instrument No. 160 of 2007.

NSAI Legal Metrology is designated as the notified body for EC verification under both direcitves and NSAI Certification is designated as a notified body for quality management systems certification under NAWI.

Gravity Zones

Ireland’s gravity values have been identified as:

G Value: 

9.814 ms-(9814000 mGal) + 0.001 ms-2 (+ 100 mGal)
  - 0.002 ms-2 (- 200 mGal)

 

However, these values are not prescribed by legislation.
The Irish implementing regulation does not make it an offence to use an instrument outside of its marked weighing range. No classes are designated for a particular application.


Updated April 2014