‘We must follow Scottish lead and end Period Poverty now’

Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy has called on the Education Minister Peter Weir to make period products accessible in all schools across the north free of charge.

She was speaking after Scotland moved to provide free universal access to period products in all public buildings in the country.

The Ballyarnett councillor has been leading a local campaign to end ‘period poverty’ in the north west.

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The party’s local health spokesperson said: “I want to welcome the passage of the Period Products Bill through the Scottish Parliament, which makes it a legal right to have free access to period products in public buildings. Scotland is the first country in the world to offer free universal access to period products and should be commended for doing so.

“With this in mind I am calling on our Education Minister Peter Weir to move on the issue here and as a first step make period products accessible in all our schools free of charge.

“I believe this would be a hugely positive forward-thinking initiative which would be widely welcomed by our local schools.

“In 2020 it is unacceptable that anyone should be unable to, or struggle to buy period products. Such a situation is demeaning, dehumanising, and a completely unacceptable reality, and yet it is a situation which thousands here face every single day.”

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Colr. Duffy has been driving a local push to end period poverty since 2016. She successfully campaigned to have free sanitary products dispensed at Brandywell Stadium and other council facilities.

She thinks other public bodies should follow the example that has been set.

“Nobody should have to suffer the indignity of using unsuitable materials to mask their periods or have to choose between putting food on the table and buying period products for themselves or their children.

“Period products are necessities, not luxury items, however for many who are struggling financially, the high cost of these products can be a financial burden.”