Cllr Micheál Choilm Mac Giolla Easbuig
Independent councillor Micheál Choilm Mac Giolla Easbuig will introduce a motion at today's meeting of Donegal County Council that could see this county become one of the first in Ireland to make period products free and end Period poverty.
Period poverty – loosely defined as not being able to afford to buy adequate supplies of sanitary products – has also been raised as an issue by students and their teacher at the Rosses Community School in Dungloe and backed by Cllr Mac Giolla Easbuig.
Speaking prior to this morning's meeting the west Donegal public representative said we should make available access to sanitary items free of charge in all Donegal County Council buildings, community centres, swimming pools and libraries, for both workers and members of the public.
"These sanitary items should be in both male and female and unisex toilets and should through public consultation provide a varied product type.
"This should include all government agencies in Donegal including schools at both national and secondary schools," he said.
Cllr Mac Giolla Easbuig added his motion also calls for a cross-political working group to be set up to carry out all necessary research and facilitation for this motion to become a reality in a timely manner.
"This is to be established within two months of this meeting and also should include relevant NGOs and members of the youth council for broader consultation.
"Period poverty is a very real issue in Ireland and the stigmas around periods affect many in our community, especially in low income households.
"It is our responsibility to help break down this stigma by providing these items free in all of our public buildings. Both Dublin and Cork County council have already passed a motion to provide free sanitary items in their public building and it is important for our communities that Donegal County Council acts immediately and does the same," he said.
He pointed out that a recent survey carried out by plan.ie found that 50% of Irish girls have faced issues around the affordability of period products.
"Our homeless community and those in Direct Provision centers do not have adequate access to sanitary items. It is important that these products are readily accessible at no cost like toilet roll or soap.
"It is not enough for us to simply debate this issue and have this motion on paper but it is essential for us to put in place a plan for all needs necessary as for this to become a reality.
"Nationally we need to move to make period products free to all like that of Scotland and most recently New Zealand," he said.
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