IRISH shops could be banned from selling 'sexy' clothes to children under new guidelines being considered for retailers.
The Department of Children and Youth Affairs is expected to address the role of retailers in the early sexualisation of children as part of the Government's strategy for children and young people.
It has reportedly held talks with the National Consumer Agency about developing a code of conduct for retailers that would prevent them from selling clothes to children with sexually suggestive material.
Items of clothing which have previously come under fire include heeled shoes for toddlers, 'cropped tops' shaped like bras for girls as young as five and skimpy underwear for pre-teens that include inappropriate slogans.
A similar code of practice was developed in the UK last summer. The new guidelines were drawn up by the British Retail Consortium (BRC) in June, and several British chains, including Marks & Spencer, Next, Debenhams, TK Maxx, Argos and Tesco, agreed to adhere to these new rules in Ireland as well.
However, Children's Minister Frances Fitzgerald noted: "In Ireland, there is neither a code of conduct for the retail of children's wear nor even basic guidelines by the BRC. This should be addressed.
"We should be examining high-level objectives and the types of actions we should take in this country."
A Herald investigation last year uncovered controversial padded bras for girls as young as nine that were available for purchase in Irish stores, including Penneys.
While the bras did not mention an age, they were advertised for girls who reach 140cm in height or 29 to 30 inches around the chest, or approximately age nine to 10.
It appeared that the age range was previously mentioned on hangers but that it had been removed.
A similar item, which was sold in Primark -- Penneys' counterpart in the UK -- in the past also claimed to be for girls of that height, and the hanger, which was photographed in a national newspaper, clearly stated that it was aimed at 9 to 10-year-old girls. A tag included with the underwear read "my first bra".