Government can’t continue to ignore period poverty

Senator Rebecca Moynihan
07 January 2019

Labour Party candidate for Dublin South Central, Rebecca Moynihan, has said period poverty is a very real issue for Irish women that needs to be tackled.

Councillor Moynihan said:

“We know that period poverty is a real issue for many women and girls living in Ireland. In a survey conducted last year by Plan International, they found that over 50% of girls aged 12-19 struggle to afford sanitary products.

“Homeless women and women living in direct provision centres also struggle to access sanitary products. Thankfully due to the stellar work of the Homeless Period Ireland, many women are able to donate sanitary products to women who are in need.

“While it is great to see voluntary organisations like the Homeless Period thrive, the Government cannot continue to be blind to the issue of period poverty in Ireland.

“Low income families shouldn’t have the additional burden of struggling to afford sanitary products; Homeless women should not have to be suffering on the streets; or young girls should not be missing school once a month because they just can’t afford sanitary protection. 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.

“The cost for a woman buying sanitary products is estimated to be €20,000 throughout her life time. Many women have no choice but to go without sanitary their weekly budget is already stretched. This is even more pronounced for women in homeless accommodation or in direct provision centres.

“In a first step to eliminating period poverty, the Government could commit to spending €5 million to provide free sanitary products in schools. This is not a hugely radical step and is being carried out successfully by our neighbours in Scotland.

“After backing my proposal to provide free sanitary products in City Council owned buildings, Dublin City Council will soon be rolling out a trial project in some of their buildings later this year.

“If this trial is successful I hope it can be implemented in all DCC owned buildings and that the Government will follow our lead and provide free sanitary products in State buildings also.”

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