Fianna Fáil Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee has highlighted the need to put a timeline in place for the universal free access to contraception scheme promised in the Programme for Government ahead of World Contraception Day on Saturday 26th September.

Senator Clifford-Lee raised the issue in the Seanad this week where she asked the Minister for Health on the progress of a State funded contraception scheme.

“The Working Group on Access to Contraception was established in April 2019 by the then Minister for Health, Simon Harris, to consider the policy, regulatory and legislative issues relating to the enhanced access to contraception following the recommendation of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on the 8th Amendment.

“A report was published on the report almost 12 months ago which identified barriers to access to contraception. There are significant barriers in relation to the choice of contraception and accessing the most effective form of contraception.

“It is very disappointing to see that little or no work has been done on this issue since the recommendations of the report. It is unacceptable and I am asking the Minister for Health to set out a clear timeline as to when women in Ireland will see a universal scheme rolled out in Ireland.

“Women need to have access to long acting reversible contraception such as the coil or an implant. It is important to remember that not every contraception suits everyone, and the same contraception won’t suit every woman throughout her life.

“The choice of contraceptive method is empowering for women and will be critical to the success of any scheme. I hope the Minister for Health will confirm that a State-funded contraceptive scheme will provide access to all methods of contraception. Work needs to begin now and it’s not good enough for this to continue to be put on the long finger by Government” concluded Senator Clifford-Lee.