Data on image quality, compression and radiation dose were collected from symptomatic breast units within the Republic of Ireland. Quantitative and qualitative data were analysed using SPSS. Recommendations of mean glandular dose (MGD) diagnostic reference levels were made at various levels for film-screen and full field digital mammography units to match levels published worldwide. MGDs received by symptomatic breast patients within Ireland are higher than those received in the alldigital Irish Breast Screening service; 55-65 mm breast: 1.75 mGy (screening) vs. 2.4 mGy (symptomatic) at the 95th percentile; various reasons are proposed for the differences. MGDs achieved in the screening service may be lower because of the exacting requirements for radiographer training, characteristics of the patients and equipment quality assurance levels. More precise imaging guidelines, standards and training of symptomatic radiographers performing mammography are suggested to remediate MGDs delivered to the breasts of Irish women attending the symptomatic breast services.