South Dublin County Council launched a pilot scheme to tackle period poverty by providing sanitary products in public buildings. This initiative led by Mayor of South Dublin, Cllr Mark Ward in partnership with Claire Hunt from The Homeless Period Ireland. The launch took place in County Hall Tallaght to mark International Womens Day.

Speaking prior to the launch Mayor Mark Ward said: “I first heard of the Homeless Period Ireland last year and I was intrigued. I did a bit of research and contacted them and asked to talk to me about period poverty. Claire Hunt from the Homeless Period Ireland was brilliant in informing me of the situations that affect women regularly” “I also spoke with some of the groups that work with women and I soon found out that the issue of period poverty is very evident so with the Homeless Period Ireland we decided to see if we could launch something in South Dublin”

“In December I had a motion passed unanimously at the full Council meeting calling on South Dublin to provide free sanitary products for women in County Hall Tallaght and also the Clondalkin Civic Offices” “I want to thank South Dublin County Council for their support with this. I was pushing on an open door once they realised the extent of the issue” “A Plan Ireland survey of 1,000 girls in Ireland found that 50% of young girls struggle to pay for sanitary products and 55% are embarrassed to talk about their period. Providing free sanitary products helps to restore dignity to women. It also helps to break down stigma around periods.”

“The provision of sanitary products in public buildings is a recognition that the products are a necessity and not a luxury.” “There are many community centres and family resource centres who already provide the products because they identified the need a long time prototype vending machine for sanitary products with Homeless Period Ireland.” “We decided in South Dublin not to use a vending machine but to instead just have the products freely available in the public toilets. This will allow women and girls who need these products to avail of them in a dignified manner” “Homeless period Ireland have been at the forefront of this campaign. They are a completely voluntary organisation that provides sanitary products to homeless women, women in refuges and women in Direct Provision.”

“Because Direct Provision centres are run privately, it was down to chance whether or not the products were supplied as it was not included in the tendering process “Homeless Period Ireland relies on the generosity of the public. They have drop off points around the country. “A team of voluntary drivers then collect them and drop them off to Direct Provision centres, refuges, and homeless services.” “Providing free sanitary products helps to restore dignity to women. It also helps to break down the stigma around periods. The provision of sanitary products in public buildings is a recognition that the products are a necessity and not a luxury. I am delighted that South Dublin County Council are teaming up with Homeless Period Ireland to supply free sanitary products in County Hall Tallaght and the Clondalkin Civic Offices. This is a project I have worked on for some time and I am thrilled to able to launch it on International Women’s Day”