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Source: Social Democratic and Labour Party of Northern Ireland

SDLP Lagan Valley MLA Pat Catney has welcomed proposals to provide free period products in schools across Northern Ireland but has said that the Executive should go further and mandate free products in all public buildings.

The Lagan Valley MLA is currently consulting on Private Members Legislation that would mandate the Executive and local councils to provide period products free of charge for those who need them.

Pat Catney MLA said:

“Northern Ireland is the only place on these islands with no comprehensive government scheme providing period products to women, girls and trans men who find it difficult to meet the financial burden of managing menstruation. So, I absolutely welcome the Education Minister’s intervention today.

“No one should face going to school worried about not being able to afford vital health products to manage their period. The feedback I have received to date from my own consultation ahead of publishing draft legislation in this area clearly demonstrates that this is a huge issue in Northern Ireland but it reaches far beyond our schools.

“I am proposing legislation that would place a duty on all public bodies, including our local councils, to provide free period products on site for building users. Period products must be universally accessible, free of charge, for those who need them at participating services such as food banks, community hubs, youth centres, pharmacies and GP surgeries. The impact of the Covid-19 pandemic has been severe for many households, no one should be placed in a position where they are considering foregoing these vital products.

“I am looking forward to working with Executive Ministers on this legislation and providing access to period products for those who need them.”

MIL OSI United Kingdom