John Gormley said the move was to help reduce greenhouse gases as well as cut the energy bills of consumers who were feeling the pinch of the economic crisis.

The phasing out of the old style bulbs will be done in a four stage process up until 2012, beginning in March 2009.

Bulbs which have an electrical power consumption of 75 watts or higher will be removed from the shelves first, followed by various other types over the next three years.

Sustainable Energy Ireland said that energy efficient light bulbs use 20% of the energy of the older bulbs and can last up to ten times longer if used well.

The UK has already begun the process of phasing out old bulbs and hopes to complete it by 2011.

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