Metrication in Ireland
Ireland inherited the imperial System of measurement from Britain, and these units continued to be used after Irish independence. It is principally due to Irish membership in the European Union (EU) that metric units were introduced. Progress towards metrication is mixed. Legally, Ireland has been fully metric since 2005, but there is also widespread (though decreasing) use of imperial units in everyday conversation.
During the First World War and after the Easter Rising, Charles A Stanuell, former President of the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland published a paper advocating the use of the metric system and a decimal currency in the UK, of which Ireland was then a part. Metrication began in the State in the 1970s and by 2005 was almost completed; the only exception being that the imperial pint (568 ml) is still used in bars. The phrase a "glass of beer" is a colloqual expression for a half-pint (284 ml).
All other places must sell liquids measured in millilitres and litres.
Distance signs had displayed kilometres since the 1990s but road speed limits were in miles per hour until January 2005, when they were finally changed to kilometres per hour. Since 2005 all new cars sold in Ireland have had speedometers that displayed only kilometres per hour; odometers generally became metric as well.
In Northern Ireland, The Public Health Act 1994 changed agricultural measurements for physical metrics such height and weight of livestock from feet, inches and hundredweights to metres and kilograms. 
The metric system is the only system taught in schools. Beginning in 1970, textbooks were changed to metric. Goods in shops are labelled in metric units, but sometimes with imperial equivalents (normally products also sold in the UK).
Household items such as bathroom scales, wash soap, clothing, and measuring tapes are sometimes in dual units, especially those also sold in the United Kingdom.
Despite metric height restriction signs being legal since 1981, some bridges in Ireland still have height warning signs in feet and inches only.
Pricing on retail
Traders in certain sectors have been slow to change to metric units for fear of their prices seeming to be higher than their competitors. For example, as of 2010, floor coverings such as carpets and tiles are commonly priced per square yard, despite it being mandatory to price in metric units. A square metre is about 20% bigger than a square yard, so a metric-pricing trader might seem at first glance to be more expensive than an imperial-pricing competitor.
Northern Ireland, which is part of the United Kingdom, continues to use imperial units for some purposes, such as speed limits, and distances shown on road signs, and certain retail items.
References in Oireachtas debates
- That the Government be asked to appoint a Commission, with power to examine voluntary witnesses, to inquire into and report on the desirability or otherwise of adopting the Metric System in Saorstát Eireann, Senator de Loughry (April 1923). "Notice of motion".
- "Question to the Minister for Education to request support for the teachers association vote in favour of metrication". 1951.
- "Question to the Minister for Finance on plans to introduce decimal coinage and the metric system". May 1964.
- "Question to the Minister for Industry and Commerce to request for a decision to be made in favour of metrication". June 1967.
- "Question to the Minister for Industry and Commerce". October 1967.
- In the area of prepackaged goods the changeover is virtually complete, "Question to the Minister for Industry and Commerce on enforcement of the regulations on food pricing (in metric)". November 1987.
- "Question to the Minister for Industry and Commerce". December 1989.
- "Question to the Minister for Transport on the timetable for metric speed limits". June 2003.
- "Question to the Minister for Transport on the timetable for metric speed limits". October 2003.
Notes and references
- Stanuell, Charles A. (1915–1917). "Weights and measures after the war". Journal of the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland (Dublin) XCVI (XIII): 460–473.
- "'Morning After' Campaign". drinkaware.ie. Mature Enjoyment of Alcohol in Society. Retrieved 14 January 2014.