Fianna Fáil Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee has highlighted the plight of women struggling with period poverty during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Period Poverty is a global health issue and one in which women and girls are unable to access sanitary products due to financial constraints and one which needs to be addressed urgently in Ireland.

Senator Clifford-Lee said: “Period Poverty is a real struggle for many women and girls in Ireland and more so for vulnerable women who have been more acutely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The previous Health Minister committed to ending period poverty here in Ireland and making products available free of charge in public buildings.

“I am asking the new Health Minister to reaffirm this commitment to the women and girls of Ireland and to help end period poverty. In the past, we have seen the success of the smoking ban as a public health measure in Ireland and how we became a global health leader on this issue, there is no reason why we can’t do the same here for the women and girls of Ireland.

“Vulnerable women and girls in Ireland today cannot access sanitary products and therefore cannot manage menstruation without shame and stigma being attached and this is something we need to end. Two thirds of Irish women have used all sorts of inappropriate items such as old rags and newspaper and this is having a detrimental impact on their health by causing infection. This should not be happening in Ireland today.

“Homeless women and women living in direct provision are particularly vulnerable and that is added to all the other issues they are facing because of their living situations.

“Almost a year and a half ago the Dáil and Seanad passed motions unanimously on period poverty and I was very happy to play a role in that. I would like to invite the new Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly to give us an update on the committee that was established to tackle period poverty following these motions. We need to take action now to end period poverty in Ireland,” concluded Senator Clifford-Lee.

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