Jack Quann
Jack Quann

08.32 20 Jan 2021


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The Labour Party has introduced a bill to the Seanad that would make period products freely available in schools, education institutions and public service buildings.

The Period Products (Free Provisions) Bill is based on the Scottish model.

Scotland became the first country in the world to make period products free for all late last year.

Senator Rebecca Moynihan, who introduced the bill, told Newstalk Breakfast this is about an essential hygiene product.

"When I was on Dublin City Council I introduced a motion that period products would be available within all public buildings.

"They had a pilot project in a number of centres and it's being rolled out this year... and I know other councils have adopted it as well.

"This is essentially about making sure that anybody who needs access to period products has access to period products".

She said the pilot operation has been a success.

"People don't walk off with fistfuls of tampons and pads or anything like that - they take what they need when they need it.

"This is a really small thing, a really small intervention that makes a big difference to an awful lot of people".

Plan International says 50% of women have struggled to afford sanitary products, while six out of 10 young women say that they feel shame and embarrassment about their period.

The charity surveyed 1,100 girls in Ireland aged 12-19 years old on period stigma and affordability.

Senator Moynihan suggested the situation has been exacerbated by many shops being closed.

"Period products can be very expensive, and I think particularly now where you have essential outlets that are closed down.

"If people are going to their local shop they're really expensive - but there's another issue here".

She added: "You go about your daily business and you don't bring out soap with you, you don't bring out a toilet roll with you - it's a basic hygiene product to be available in bathrooms and toilets.

"We don't expect other people to pack up and have everything with them - but for some reason we treat periods as this shameful thing, we treat periods as this thing that's a luxury product."

The bill would place the onus on the relevant institutions to consult with women on the variety of products required.

And there would also be an obligation on the Government to engage in an information campaign, to ensure people know where to obtain the products.

Period products could be free in schools under new bill

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Main image: Tampons and panty liners on a table in Germany. Picture by: Annette Riedl/DPA/PA Images

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Free Period Products In Schools Labour Party Newstalk Breakfast Period Products Period Products (Free Provisions) Bill Plan International Seanad Senator Rebecca Moynihan

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