In 1985 condoms could be sold for the first time over the counter in pharmacies without a prescription in the Republic of Ireland.

On 20 February 1985 Des O'Malley spoke to RTÉ reporter Charlie Bird about the new Family Planning Bill and the implications it has had north and south of the border.

Des O'Malley was expelled from Fianna Fáil in February 1985 after arguing against the party’s opposition to modest liberalisation of contraception laws in the Family Planning Bill. Prior to the enactment of the bill the sale of condoms was restricted to prescription only purchases.

O'Malley had been ejected from the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party in May 1984, when he opposed Haughey's insistence that a united Ireland was the only solution to the Northern Ireland conflict, and was expelled from the party entirely in February 1985 for "conduct unbecoming", when he abstained as a now independent TD on a family planning bill on the availability of contraceptives.

  • 1979: Contraceptives became available in the Republic of Ireland by prescription only.
  • 1985: It became lawful to sell condoms and spermicides in certain outlets, such as pharmacies or hospitals, to persons aged 18 or over.
  • 1992: Condoms were made available for sale in retail outlets to people over the age of 17.
  • 1993: The age restriction on the purchase of condoms was removed and they became available in vending machines. 

An RTÉ News report by Charlie Bird broadcast on 20 February 1985.