PERIOD POVERTY INITIATIVE

Louth County Council offering free sanitary products in public buildings

Tia Clarke

Reporter:

Tia Clarke

Email:

tia.clarke@dundalkdemocrat.ie

Louth County Council offering free sanitary products in public buildings

Pic: Tara Tine

A number of public bathrooms across North Louth will be stocking sanitary products free of charge. 

The bright idea is part of a forward-thinking motion put forward by Sinn Féin Cllr Joanna Byrne at a Louth County Council meeting last June.

A spokesperson for Louth County Council said: "This initiative is as a result of Cllr. Byrne's motion. 

"The products are available in the public bathrooms of local authority civic offices including Town Hall, Dundalk, County Hall, Dundalk and Civic Offices, Ardee." 

Local woman Tara Tine also spotted the vending machines in the Town Hall yesterday and posted the below message on Facebook: 

Cllr Byrne told the chamber back in June: "Period poverty is when a person struggles to or is unable to access sanitary products due to financial constraints, forcing people to use makeshift and inadequate protection. Although affordability is one of the main barriers for people in period poverty there are also cultural and social reasons why people can’t access period products.

"These combined factors are seeing a growing demand among charities and voluntary groups throughout this County for sanitary products. Some Cafés and Community Centres throughout Louth have recognised this need and are already providing such items free of charge." 

The Cllr added: "For a high number of women it is fast becoming a choice between food and these necessary products, or between paying the bills and making cuts on such items. These choices are leading to all sorts of follow on issues such as the impact on health, not to mention the Human Rights aspect of feeling of being powerless and excluded, leading to a loss of dignity and self-esteem.

"It’s time for Louth to get pro-active on this. Providing free sanitary products in public buildings will help restore dignity to women who are struggling and help to provide all women in our County with these essential products no matter what their economic circumstances.”

On Tuesday, Scottish Parliament approved a plan to make all menstrual products available free of charge in public buildings such as community centers, pharmacies, and youth clubs.

Scotland has offered pads and tampons free of charge in schools and universities since 2018.