Offaly County Council leads out a Period Poverty initiative in its buildings
Offaly County Council is one of a number of Local Authorities in Ireland that have launched initiatives on Period Poverty. At its meeting in April 2021, following a motion by Councillor Clare Claffey, the Council Executive committed to sourcing funding to provide free feminine hygiene products on a pilot basis. The Council’s Community Section went on to secure funding through Healthy Ireland’s Community Resilience Fund for a short-term project.
This followed a report on Period Poverty published in February 2021 by the Department of Health and the Department of Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth. That report asked public bodies to investigate the options for the provision of free products across all public buildings and sites and committed government support for Local Authorities to make period products available through libraries and other services.
Welcoming the initiative Offaly Comhairle Na Og said ‘No woman, girl, intersex, trans or non-binary person who menstruates, should have to exclude themselves from the activities of daily living during menstruation or suffer the physical and mental health impacts resulting from both recurrent exclusion and the use of unsuitable period products. Government, NGOs, private individuals all have a role to play in achieving this objective. Offaly Comhairle na nÓg welcome Offaly County Councils initiative and applaud them and Cllr. Claffey for bring the issue of period poverty to the forefront’.
The initiative will help those who are perhaps having difficulty affording period products or getting access to them for social or cultural reasons. As a result of funding received from the Department of Health and Sláintecare from its Community Resilience Fund, Offaly County Council has set out to deliver a pilot rollout of free period products at five County Council buildings providing access to the public. The locations are Áras an Chontae, Tullamore; Birr (incorporating Birr Library), Tullamore and Edenderry Municipal District Offices and Tullamore Library.
Dispensing machines containing the free products have been installed in discreet locations in the reception areas of the aforementioned sites for those in need of the service. It is hoped that further funding can be secured to extend the service to all publicly accessible County Council buildings in the county.