Leinster House commended for stocking period products in men's bathrooms

"Everyone who menstruates should have easy access to menstrual products without shame or stigma".

Period products such as those that are in Leinster House.
Image: Photo by Josefin on Unsplash

In a move to support more people who menstruate, period products are now being offered in the men’s toilets in Leinster House. The addition to the bathrooms was made public after Irish Independent Editor, Philip Ryan, posted a tweet with a photo of a tampon dispenser in the men’s facilities in the Irish parliamentary building.

When asked about the decision to add period supplies to the Leinster House bathrooms, an Oireachtas spokesperson told PinkNews that they followed expert recommendations to cultivate a more inclusive environment, saying: “In response to motions moved in the Dáil and Seanad in 2019 by the Women’s Caucus; recommendations in the report of the forum on a family-friendly and inclusive parliament; and observations on the forum’s report by the Oireachtas LGBTQ+ group, the facilities management unit have made free period products available in a selection of bathrooms across the Leinster House complex.”

Adding to this, Trans and Intersex Pride Dublin said that “Everyone who menstruates should have easy access to menstrual products without shame or stigma”.

“The inclusion of menstrual products in the men’s bathroom in Leinster House means trans men and non-binary people who menstruate can access them instead of going into the women’s bathroom if they don’t feel comfortable doing so.”

The organisation also explained that trans people are most vulnerable to period poverty, and the free supply of these products can be extremely helpful to the community.

“By having menstrual products in the men’s bathroom it also breaks the silence of a taboo subject. Menstruation happens to half of the world’s population but is still considered a dirty and shameful thing to take about. Hopefully by having these products freely and easily available we can begin to have open and honest conversations about menstruation,” Trans and Intersex Pride Dublin concluded.

CEO of Transgender Equality Network Ireland (TENI) Tina Kolos Orban reinforced the point that this can be hugely beneficial in tackling period poverty.

“The cost of menstruation products hits all but could hit trans people even harder due to experiencing poverty, unemployment and underemployment at higher rates.

“While these products are sometimes available without cost in women’s restrooms, those who menstruate and feel more comfortable using male restrooms will almost never have access to free tampons and pads,” the said.

Ruadhán Ó Críodáin, ShoutOut’s Executive Director, expressed his delight at seeing period products in Leinster House.

“That’s a reassuring message when you’re entering [a] gendered facility as a trans person and might be anxious about harassment, violence, or being challenged just for trying to use the toilet – which unfortunately happens all too often.

“We hope more buildings, including schools, will follow suit and ensure all toilets have period products and sanitary bins for anyone who might need them, as well as ensuring trans and non-binary people have safe access to whichever bathroom is most comfortable for them.”

Scotland became the first country in the world to make period products free in 2022, and last year, Lidl became the first major retailer in Ireland to offer free period products in their stores. Anyone in Ireland who is in need of period products can access a voucher for a free box of sanitary pads or tampons each month through the Lidl app.

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