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'Small intervention' Free period products in schools, colleges and public buildings 'would make big difference'

"This is essentially about making sure that anybody who needs access to period products has access to period products"

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A bill that would make period products freely available in schools, education institutions and public service buildings could make a big difference to an awful lot of people, it has been claimed.

The Labour Party’s Period Products (Free Provisions) Bill that has been introduced to the Seanad is based on a Scottish model introduced there last year.

Late last year, Scotland became the first country in the world to make period products free for all.

Since November, there is a legal duty on local authorities in Scotland to ensure that free items such as tampons and sanitary pads are available to "anyone who needs them".

Now, Senator Rebecca Moynihan, who introduced the bill here, told Newstalk Breakfast that a pilot operation has already been a success.

"When I was on Dublin City Council I introduced a motion that period products would be available within all public buildings,” she said.

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Image: Getty

Image: Getty

Image: Getty

“They had a pilot project in a number of centres and it's being rolled out this year... and I know other councils have adopted it as well.

"This is essentially about making sure that anybody who needs access to period products has access to period products".

"People don't walk off with fistfuls of tampons and pads or anything like that - they take what they need when they need it,” she added.

"This is a really small thing, a really small intervention that makes a big difference to an awful lot of people."

The Bill, if passed, will provide for free tampons, sanitary towels and reusable products in school bathrooms, educational institutions and public service bodies.

Speaking previously on the issue, Senator Moynihan said Ireland needs to follow in Scotland’s footsteps.

She said: “There’s no reason that period products shouldn’t be the same as let’s say providing soap or toilet roll within a public building.

“You hear stories of younger women or those on lower incomes who are using things like socks or kitchen roll and we shouldn’t be in a situation where people aren’t using the products that they need for their period.

“What this Bill does is put it under a legal basis that period products would be freely available in schools, educational institutions that are funded by the State and public service bodies.

“And that it consults with people about the type of products that they use.”

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