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11th Oct 2021

Period poverty to be addressed for first time in Budget 2022

Sarah McKenna Barry

Budget 2022 will be unveiled tomorrow, 12 October.

Tomorrow sees the launch of Budget 2022, and with it a first for the Irish Government: addressing period poverty.

The Independent has reported that, for the first time, measures will be taken to relieve period poverty. Additionally, the paper notes that services at sexual assault treatment units will be expanded.

It is not yet clear what these measures will entail.

It’s a long time coming as Irish campaigners have been calling for action to be taken on the issue for quite some time now.

Earlier this year, Labour Senator Rebecca Moynihan introduced a bill to make period products free in Ireland. The Period Products (Free Provisions) Bill would make pads and tampons freely available in schools, education centres, and other public buildings. It came just a few months after Scotland introduced similar legislation – the first time a country has ever done so.

Prior to that, the Period Poverty in Ireland report was launched, which investigated the social impact of period poverty in the country.

It found that annual costs of period products per woman are estimated at €96.72, not including pain relief which brings the estimate to a minimum of €121 per year.

The Period Poverty in Ireland report also included a list of key recommendations the government has said it is committed to introducing, including more surveys about the impact of period poverty, engaging with the country’s most vulnerable groups including the homeless and those living with addiction, and continued negotiations with the EU on the reduction of VAT on products like menstrual cups.

Also this year, a number of companies opted to tackle period poverty through various measures.

Lidl, for instance, became the world’s first major retailer to offer free period products in store through their partnership with Homeless Period Ireland and the Simon Communities of Ireland.

Budget 2022 will be unveiled tomorrow, 12 October.