Labour Introduces Bill to Provide Free Period Products
The Period Products (Free Provisions) Bill was today introduced into the Seanad by Senator Rebecca Moynihan. If enacted, the Period Justice Bill would provide for period products to be freely available in schools, education institutions and public service buildings. The Bill also places an obligation on the Minister to engage in an information campaign to ensure people know where to obtain the products. Modelled on the ground-breaking legislation introduced by the Scottish Labour Party, the Bill will place an onus on the relevant institutions to consult with women on the variety of products required.
Introducing the Bill, Senator Moynihan said: “Period injustice can have a detrimental effect on the health and wellbeing of women, girls and trans people. The objective of this legislation is that all who menstruate should be able to access period products, at no cost, as and when they are required.
“Period products are not a luxury item and should be accessible to all who need them. This is a common sense piece of legislation which will ensure that young women in particular can access different types of period products easily, and with dignity.
“Every day, about 800 million women, girls and trans people menstruate. During a year, the average Irish person spends an extra €61.39 on period products, just because of their menstrual cycle. But the real cost of this is much higher – painkillers, laundry products and contraceptive pills. This is a huge additional financial cost, particularly for the most vulnerable in our society.
“We also know that some girls don’t go to school when menstruating because they can’t afford tampons and sanitary towels. As well as setting these girls behind their male peers, it means that girls aren’t getting the full education that they deserve. Through providing easily accessible products in our schools, we can protect these girls and give them the same chance as their peers.
“In 2021 it should not be the case that people who don’t have access to money are missing out on basic sanitary products. We can reduce and eradicate the levels of period poverty in our lifetime, and this Bill aims to make meaningful change for those who menstruate. Periods are not a luxury. It is a part of everyday life and we need to have period justice for all people.”