Lidl Ireland first major retailer across world to offer free period products in stores nationwide
A Labour bill currently working its way through the Oireachtas could see period products free in schools here, similar to an approach being taken in Scotland.
20 April 2021
Lidl Ireland is set to become the first major retailer in the world to offer free period products in stores nationwide to women and girls across the country affected by period poverty in partnership with Homeless Period Ireland and The Simon Communities of Ireland. The new initiative will see the retailer offer a dedicated coupon for a free box of sanitary pads or tampons per customer each month through the Lidl Plus app, and Lidl has also committed to quarterly donations of these products to The Simon Communities to ensure people experiencing homelessness – who may not have access to a smartphone – can access these essential products.
Through its sponsorship of the Ladies Gaelic Football Association, Lidl is also working with the organisation to provide free period products in its LGFA clubs across the country with hopes to reach thousands more women and young girls who may not have access to these products on a regular basis. In addition, Lidl will continue to provide free access of these products to its workforce.
Period poverty is described as the lack of access to sanitary products, menstrual hygiene education, toilets, hand washing facilities, and, or, waste management, is a growing issue in Ireland particularly since the onset of the pandemic. A Plan International study on young females in Ireland found that almost 50 per cent of girls aged between 12 and 19 found it difficult to pay for sanitary products. Lidl’s new initiative comes in advance of anticipated Irish legislation and implementation of supporting measures. In November, Scotland became the first country in the world to commit to offering free period products to those who need them, with New Zealand quickly following suit following successful trials in schools last year.
“I’m delighted that Lidl Ireland have partnered with Homeless Period Ireland in order to take meaningful action against period poverty in Ireland,” said Claire Hunt, founder of Homeless Period Ireland, “This initiative will ensure that those most in need will have the ability to access suitable period products.”
“As a long-time supporter of women in sport, our female workforce, and now women and girls across the country affected by this issue, we are pleased to partner with Homeless Period Ireland to make this unprecedented commitment to provide free period products for those who need them whilst Government legislation is being worked on,” added Lidl’s Aoife Clarke. “The guiding principle of this initiative is the inherent respect for the dignity of all those concerned, and it is our hope that it will have an impact those who would otherwise have to use less suitable materials or none at all.”
A Labour bill is currently working its way through the Oireachtas which could result in period products being available free of charge in schools here, similar to a scheme operating in Scotland.
In a Newstalk interview earlier today, Sinn Féin Senator Lynn Boylan told Newstalk said the government is delaying and ‘over-complicating’ the move here by looking for more studies and research.
“Just put the products in schools and public buildings and get on with it,” she said.
Senator Boylan also praised Lidl, stating “they stepped up to the plate in doing something the government should be doing.”