“Ireland must follow Scottish lead and end Period Poverty now” – Chris MacManus MEP
Sinn Féin MEP Chris MacManus has welcomed the news that Scotland is to offer free universal access to period products and has called on the Irish Government to follow suit and to make period products accessible to all Irish women free of charge.
“I want to welcome the passage of the Period Products Bill through the Scottish Parliament, which makes it a legal right to have free access to period products in public buildings. Scotland is the first country in the world to offer free universal access to period products and should be commended for doing so.”
The Midlands Northwest MEP said, “Nobody should have to suffer the indignity of using unsuitable materials to mask their periods or have to choose between putting food on the table and buying period products for themselves or their children. Period products are necessities, not luxury items, however for many women, girls and families who are struggling financially, the high cost of these products can be a financial burden.”
“A 2018 study conducted by Plan International Ireland found that half of Irish girls aged 12-19 admitted to struggling to pay for period products in the past, with the worst affected being those in low income families, Direct Provision Centres, women’s refuges and homeless women. Many also admitted to using less suitable products due to cost factors.”
“In a State as well off as ours it is unacceptable that anyone should be unable to, or struggle to buy period products. Such a situation is demeaning, dehumanising, and a completely unacceptable reality, and yet it is a situation which thousands of women & girls in Ireland face every single day.”
The Sinn Féin MEP said action is overdue, “I am calling on the Government to follow Scotland’s lead in providing free universal access to period products in all public buildings. In October 2018 I brought up this issue at Sligo County Council and since then the Oireachtas passed a motion in 2019 calling for such measures to be introduced. It is long overdue that the Government took action. Such access to period care should be a basic human right and would alleviate the financial stress placed on Irish women due to period poverty.”
MacManus concluded, “The Government must also provide more education and information to everyone, particularly through proper, comprehensive sex education in schools in order to normalise conversation, remove the stigma and make people aware of what menstruation actually is.” ENDS