More than 33,000 products, including toys, phone chargers, and kitchen appliances, did not meet safety regulations last year, according to the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

The CCPC, working with Revenue's Customs Service, examined 42 consignments containing 346,739 potentially unsafe products. 

The risks ranged from potential eye damage from sunglasses which did not provide UVA/UVB protection to fire hazards arising from unsafe phone chargers.

Isolde Goggin, Chair of the CCPC said the commission's aim is to ensure that goods placed on the Irish market do not pose a safety risk to consumers. 

"Each year, we investigate thousands of potentially unsafe products. The 33,688 products we stopped last year did not meet required safety standards and so we took the necessary steps to ensure that such products were either re-exported or destroyed and that consumers in Ireland were not put at risk."

Manufacturers, importers and distributors who sell to consumers in Ireland are responsible for ensuring that the products they sell comply with all of the relevant product safety regulations and standards. Failure to do so may not only result in financial loss to the trader but more importantly their products may cause physical harm to their customers. 

"If we find that a trader has failed to fulfil their duties, we will not hesitate in taking appropriate measures, including seizure, forced destruction or re-exportation, to prevent unsafe products from being placed on the Irish market," Ms Goggin said.

Separately, new rules will apply to products coming from Britain once the UK leaves the Customs Union. It will become a third country and products from the UK will be treated the same as products which have originated from any other non-EU country, such as China or the United States. 

"If you buy from a UK-based supplier, you will be importing from a third country into the EU," she said. "Therefore, your business must comply with specific importers' obligations under the relevant product safety regulations. As we prepare for Brexit, we are working to raise awareness of these important changes. We have also increased our staff resources to ensure that consumers in Ireland are not at risk from unsafe products after Brexit."