Age standardised oral cancer incidence rates were calculated for the Republic of Ireland from data collected by the Southern Tumour Registry for the years 1984-1988. The annual incidence rates (per 100 000) for men were lip 3.8, tongue 1.2 and mouth 1.8 while the corresponding rates for women were lip 0.2, tongue 0.7 and mouth 0.5. The incidence of lip cancer is shown to be much lower than indicated by previously published Irish rates. In general, oral cancer incidence rates in Ireland are comparable to those reported for Denmark. The vast majority (94%) of cases were histologically verified. The results, along with recent findings on mortality, contradict the view that Ireland has a very high rate of oral cancer by west European standards. © 1993.