Wicklow billboard sends stark message on period poverty to politicians
"All we have heard since is a vague mention of funding for ‘measures addressing period poverty."
After Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly spent months stalling on announcing measures to end period poverty, he's now been sent a reminder he can’t ignore.
A new billboard in Greystones, Co Wicklow illustrates the reality of period poverty for thousands of people in Ireland, many of whom are being forced to choose between basic period products and food.
As it stands, period poverty is only becoming a wider issue across Ireland, particularly during the Covid-19 pandemic.
This new billboard is part of a wider campaign by Uplift on ending period poverty that includes a petition calling for free period products in homeless hubs, direct provision centres and schools.
Uplift Communications Worker Niamh O’Connor said today: "The government itself acknowledged the urgency of this issue in its February 2021 report ‘Period Poverty in Ireland’ which revealed that up to 85,000 people in Ireland are at risk of period poverty.
"And, the 2020 Programme for Government commitment to provide a range of period products in all public education settings was another empty promise. All we have heard since is a vague mention of funding for ‘measures addressing period poverty’ in Budget 2022 with no concrete action plan."
O'Connor went on to say that charities are carrying the weight of helping those dealing with period poverty with little to no help from the government.
"At present, charities like Homeless Periods Ireland and Students’ Unions are bearing the brunt of the work and there is no consistent access to free period products in public spaces across the country," she said.
"People who are homeless in particular are being ignored by the government despite being one of the most vulnerable groups in our society.
"We know that making period products free to all who need them is possible. Just last year, the Scottish government made it a legal requirement for local authorities to provide free period products to all who need them in public spaces and educational settings.
"So what is the Irish government waiting for?"
According to Plan International, almost 50% of girls aged between 12 and 19 in Ireland find it difficult to pay for sanitary products.