Dive into the features you want to see

Abortion alcohol alcohol free america Art artist spotlight awards beer Belfast best best looking Best New Music booze Brexit British Cannabis cbd Cheese chocolate Christmas climate change closure Coffee collaboration College Green Comedy cooking counter culture counterculture Cover Story Covid Culture DC Films Derelict Ireland Direct Provision Drink drug Drugs Dublin Dublin City Council Dublin International Film Festival easter Entertainment Environment equality Fashion feature feminism Festival Film First Listen Food gaeilge Gaming General News gift gifts Gigs Graphic Design guinness harm reduction Harry Styles healthcare Heaters Heatwave heist Hennessy Homelessness Housing HSE ice cream Identity instagram Interview introduction to ireland Irish Irish coffee Irish News irishmade justice Justice League Kanye West launch Leonardo DiCaprio LGBTQ+ List Lists Literature Living Hell Lockdown Index Made by District Made in Ireland magdalene laundries meme Mental Health menu merch metoo Michelin mural Music narolane new menu New Music News nightclub nom non-binary nphet One of everything Opener Openers opening openings Opinion Pairing pancakes Photography Pints Podcasts Politics pop up pop ups potatoes Premiere presents Pride queer Ray Fisher reservations Restaurants restrictions rugby Science Shebeen Shite Talk shitetalk signature dish Skateboarding small batch Social Media soup Space Subset sustainability tacos Taxis Technology Television The Big Grill theatre Thumbstopper tiktok To Be Irish Top 10 Tracks Top Ten Tracks Traffic Trans rights Transport Travellers trends TV Ukraine Ultimate Food Guide vegan Visual Art vodka Weed where to eat whiskey wine Women's rights Workman's youtube
Counter Culture / March 25, 2022

Northern Ireland passes historic bills for period poverty, abortion and domestic violence

Image: Homeless Period Ireland
Counter Culture / March 25, 2022

Northern Ireland passes historic bills for period poverty, abortion and domestic violence

Words: Eva O’Beirne

New legislation in the North will require all public buildings to supply period products, the provision of safe access zones for those seeking abortion and ten days paid leave for victims and survivors of domestic violence.

The period poverty bill was brought forward by SDLP MLA Pat Catney who said he was inspired by the work of activists and the encouragement of his daughters and granddaughters.

Commenting on its passing he said: “This is what politics should be about and it is the whole reason I am involved in political life. Over the last two years, I have heard heartbreaking stories about young women forced to use toilet paper, cloth and newspaper as an alternative to period products because the cost is so prohibitive. As a father and a grandfather, I couldn’t bear the thought of any of our girls going through that.”

A survey conducted by the SDLP last year found that 45 per cent of respondents struggled to afford or access period products during menstruation.

A total of 69 per cent of respondents had been forced to use sanitary products for longer than advised or use unsuitable alternatives, such as toilet paper, newspaper or cloth.

Bills to end religious discrimination in the recruitment of teachers, to provide safe access zones around abortion clinics and to provide paid leave for victims of domestic violence were also passed yesterday.

The safe access zone bill, which was brought by Green Party leader Clare Bailey, was passed by 55 votes to 29, prompting a round of applause in the public gallery.

Bailey said on the Bill: “The deliberate and concerted campaign of harassment and intimidation against women has to stop. During my time as a volunteer with the Marie Stopes clinic, I was spat at, splashed with holy water, called a murderer, and watched a woman run into oncoming traffic to escape these people. This needs to stop, this is not protest as I understand it.”

Abortion laws in Northern Ireland were liberalised in 2019 following legislation passed by Westminster when the Assembly was suspended by Sinn Fein. However, while individual health trusts have been offering services, the Northern Irish Department of Health has yet to centrally commission the services.

The new regulations with safe-access zones will place a further duty on the department to make abortion services available as soon as possible.

Elsewhere on District: Arts Council refuses to fund Dublin Gay Theatre Festival after 18 years