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Wednesday 8 February 2023 Dublin: 8°C
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# budget 2022
Roll out of free contraception expected to be given green light for Budget 2022
The roll out of free contraception is key promise in the programme for government.

FREE CONTRACEPTION IS expected to be announced in next week’s Budget.

Health Minister Stephen Donnelly is understood to have been battling in Budget negotiations to ensure funding for free contraceptive distribution to women would be made available.

Speaking to RTÉ two weeks ago, Donnelly said “a big priority for me is women’s health care. For example, next year, I want to see the rollout of funding free contraception”.

The roll out of free contraception is key promise in the programme for government when it comes to women’s health. Former Health Minister Simon Harris had planned to deliver it in 2019, but the roll out never came to fruition. 

Green Party members, including the party’s spokesperson for health, TD Neasa Hourigan, called for free contraception again this week, stating that it “is about giving people, regardless of their financial means, complete control over their own bodies and lives – whether to have children and when to have them”.

“We negotiated to include this commitment in the Programme for Government and now we need to deliver on that commitment,” she said.

The Department of Health previously advised that instead of giving everyone free access to contraception, that a State-funded scheme should be focused on providing free contraception to young women first.

The government established the working group in 2019 to consider policies and legislation around improving access to contraception after the Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment recommended free contraception. 

The report found that local access, cost, embarrassment, inconvenience and lack of knowledge were among the barriers to accessing contraception.

It highlighted that young women and vulnerable groups should be prioritised when giving free contraception.

The introduction of free contraception for all women aged 17-25 in Budget 2022 would cost the State about €10 million a year, according to a recent report presented to  Government last month.

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