UL Video series: Period poverty in Ireland is a hidden but very much present problem

It’s one of the most hidden forms of poverty that is very much present in Ireland, affecting thousands of people across the country on a daily basis.

The context

For many of us, popping up a packet of sanitary pads or tampons into our shopping basket is routine – but what about those who simply can’t afford the additional €5-€10k it costs every year to have a period?

In the UK, sanitary products are being made freely-available in primary and secondary schools to combat the issue of period poverty among teens.

So, how long until Ireland follows suit? Talks have already begun in the Seanad about the issue of period poverty, with Junior Health Minister, Catherine Byrne stating that the issue must be “seriously looked at” at a governmental level.

“It is not a promise - it is a commitment,” Minister Byrne said, “it has been left in the closet too long. ”

Discussions are currently taking place to make sanitary products freely available in all public buildings in Ireland, such as schools, universities, Garda stations, Direct Provision centres and prisons.

“Ireland has made huge social, emotional, deep changes in things that were deep-rooted in the last decade so this should be easy-peasy in relation,” says Senator John Dolan, Independent, who was outspoken on the issue in the Seanad last month.

“It should be, whether or not it will be is down to us all,” Senator Dolan adds.

The video

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