Gov should follow Scotland’s lead in tackling period poverty – Kingston

28 August 2018

Labour Party Equality spokesperson, Deirdre Kingston, has called on the Government to follow Scotland’s lead in providing free sanitary products to students.

Councillor Kingston said:

“Earlier this month, the Scottish Government announced that they would be providing free sanitary products in schools and colleges to tackle period poverty in Scotland.

“While we don’t pay the same levels of VAT on sanitary products as they do in the UK, according to PLAN International Ireland, over fifty percent of Irish girls aged 12-19 have experienced issues around the affordability of sanitary products.

“We know anecdotally that some schools and teachers provide sanitary products to students, however, this is often done in an ad-hoc basis with no real structure. The Government should seek to follow Scotland’s lead and provide free sanitary products to all schools and colleges.

“The Scottish scheme totals in cost to just over €5 million, when you consider that the Government planned to spend €5 million per year on the Strategic Communications Unit, this would be a much more worthy spend for 2019.

“If this scheme is successful, the Government should look to extend it to women on low-incomes and who are in direct provision centres. Women who are in these situations, often find themselves barely being able to afford essentials like sanitary products, which can often be priced as if they are luxury goods.

“We know through the popular ‘Homeless Period Ireland’ initiative, that tackling period poverty is an issue Irish women are very aware of and keen to address.

“In the upcoming budget the Government could implement this common sense proposal that would go a long way to tackling period poverty.”

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