A new age limit may be introduced in the Irish Republic for the sale of spirits by supermarkets, convenience stores and off-licences.

A government source has confirmed that raising the limit from 18 to 21 was one of the measures being "actively considered" in a bid to curb binge drinking and antisocial behaviour by young people.

Speculation that the government intends to raise the legal drinking age from 18 to 21 across all outlets selling alcohol, including pubs, was denied, however.

The report of a government-appointed expert group was presented to justice minister Brian Lenihan this week.

He has promised to publish a Bill incorporating its findings within the next few months and to have legislation through parliament by summer.