Government can’t continue to ignore period poverty
Labour Senator and Oireachtas Health Committee member Annie Hoey said period poverty continues to be a very real issue for Irish women that demands attention.
Senator Hoey said:
“We know that period poverty is a real issue for many women and girls living in Ireland. While Government committed €1.5 million in 2022 and 2023 to providing products to all schools, we need to do much, much more and ensure that there are greater resources out there in the wider community for women.
“Last month, the Quarryvale Family Resource Centre in Clondalkin outlined the massive issue that people accessing their resources have when it comes to period products. Particularly as we see the cost of these products rise in recent months, women are forgoing these essential items, prioritising feeding their families and keeping the heat on.
“Homeless women and women living in direct provision centres in particular really struggle to access sanitary products. It’s a matter of basic human dignity. Many women are forced to choose between feeding themselves or having access to these products. It’s shameful that Government has not moved further to provide dignity to women in such hardship.
“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 January 2021, Labour introduced the Period Products (Free Provisions) Bill into the Seanad to pave the way for period justice in Ireland. This legislation would replicate many elements of the measures brought in by Senator Moynihan across Dublin City Council in 2018 to ensure that period products would be provided for in toilets controlled by the Council.
“Periods are not a luxury. They are a reality. Women must have access to the sanitary products they need regardless of their ability to afford them.”