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period poverty

Public buildings to have period products in no-cost vending machines

More than €800,000 was provided in Budget 2023 for the measure tackling period poverty.

THE GOVERNMENT HAS launched a new framework that will enable public buildings to easily purchase period products and no-cost vending machines.

A commitment to address period poverty is included in the Programme for Government, which builds upon the recommendations of the Period Poverty in Ireland Discussion Paper.

Published in 2021, this report found that between 53,000 and 85,000 women are at risk of period poverty in Ireland.

Meanwhile, last year’s Healthy Ireland survey found that almost a quarter of women – and 35% of woman aged 15-24 – have experienced at least one indicator of period poverty.

Indicators of period poverty include: having to change to a less suitable period product for cost reasons; struggling to afford period products; having to borrow period products due to affordability; or having to improvise with materials not intended for use during your period.

One of the recommendations contained within the 2021 Period Poverty in Ireland report was the need to “develop a co-ordinated approach to the procurement of period products”.

Minister of State with responsibility for Public Health, Hildegarde Naughton and Minister of State with responsibility for Public Procurement, Ossian Smyth today launched this new procurement framework.

It allows public sector bodies to easily purchase period products and no-cost vending machines, for use in public offices, buildings and facilities.

Funding of €814,000 was provided for this initiative in Budget 2023.

The framework agreement also includes a number of sustainability elements, with re-usable and more sustainable disposable product options included in the range of period products available to order.

Speaking today, Minister Naughton said: “This Framework will support our partners to purchase products, vending machines, equip their own facilities and distribute period products, including tampons, sanitary pads, menstrual underwear, menstrual cups and much more, to those most in need.”

Minister Smyth also encouraged any public body interested in the scheme to “make use of this straightforward arrangement, which offers a socially, environmentally and economically sustainable solution”.

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