Ireland’s Bill to make period products free for all passes first stage

It’s long past time to stand up against period poverty once and for all, and ensure that period products, which are thought of as a luxury good, are freely available to all who menstrate, as is necessary.

Fianna Fáil senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee brought the Period Products (Free Provisions) Bill into the Seanad, in the hopes of eradicating period poverty, and making pads and tampons freely available in schools, education centres, and other public buildings.

Speaking about the effect of this Bill, Clifford-Lee said, “No woman, girl and trans person in Ireland should be struggling to access products they need to manage their periods safely and with dignity.”

“Too many girls are missing school due to a lack of access to period products. Many women are using unsafe and unsuitable items,” she added.

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. The good news is that the Period Products (Free Provisions) Bill passed its first stage yesterday, when it was introduced in the Seanad. Now the next step for the Bill is to enter the Dáil, to become law.

Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast Labour senator Rebecca Moynihan explained,"This is a really small thing, a really small intervention that makes a big difference to an awful lot of people."

"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," she added.

Meanwhile, senator Clifford-Lee noted, “This issue is also part of the greater, overall debate on reproduction that we are having – but we still have a long way to go.”

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