Council to look at feasibility of providing free sanitary items

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A study on the feasibility of providing free sanitary products at the Brandywell and other Council facilities has been commissioned despite DUP reservations over the cost of the proposal.

Councillors unanimously backed the move that was originally proposed by Sinn Féin Councillor Sandra Duffy at Derry City & Strabane District Council’s monthly meeting for September.

The Council has now committed to supporting the ‘On the Ball’ drive that has already seen Celtic Football Club of Glasgow provide free sanitary products at Celtic Park.

Officers will now test the feasibility of providing free sanitary products at the Guildhall, the Council offices, the Ryan McBride Brandywell Stadium, and at all Council sports and community facilities.

Councillor Duffy said: “Since I embarked on highlighting the ‘On the Ball’ campaign locally it’s amazing to see just how quickly things have moved and how much support I have received.

“For many people it’s a very private issue so as elected representatives it’s our job to help bring about change and practical ways of support.”

SDLP Councillor Angela Dobbins supported the motion but proposed an amendment to ensure it extended beyond the Brandywell to all facilities. She observed how we do not live in a “third world country” and that it was unacceptable period poverty existed in Derry today.

Alderman Hilary McClintock was also supportive but expressed concern that free sanitary products in all Council facilities might be used as a free resource by those who were not really in need. Her proposed amendment that any such initiative should only be rolled out as a six month pilot in order to test the financial implications was defeated.

Independent Councillor, Darren O’Reilly, said that as a Celtic supporter he was pleased to see the campaign taking off. Supporting the measure was something the Council should be regardless of cost and the Council should be taking the lead on other anti-poverty initiatives, he said.