Ballymena Alliance councilor Patricia O’Lynn angrily denied at a special meeting of the city council on Friday by Keith Turner, councilor of the Ulster Union, that the supply of sanitary products in council buildings is a matter of “logistics”.
Cllr Turner commented on a request from Cllr O’Lynn for the local authority to provide free sanitary ware on their sports fields, public buildings and community facilities, starting with each of the Mid and East Antrim town halls.
He said that if these items were freely available in some locations, they would be misused.
“/>The town hall in Larne.
“We have to call plumbers and the like about how toilet paper is misused.
“The idea is solid, but the logistics need to be reviewed,” he said.
Cllr O’Lynn said, “During a pandemic, periods don’t stop. How long would it take for these additional measures to be implemented? “
She asked if sanitary products were put in toilets for free, but if there was a problem the council had to call a plumber, would the toilet roll be withdrawn if the toilet were clogged?
“Period poverty is a very real challenge for many girls and women in the UK. People living in poverty cannot access menstrual products for financial reasons, ”said Cllr O’Lynn.
According to Plan International, a children’s charity, one in ten women will not be able to afford menstrual products at some point in their life.
She reported that 40 percent of girls and women had to use toilet paper, socks or plastic bags instead.
“Taking such action is humiliating, degrading, and can lead to poor physical and mental health.
“Period poverty in a country like ours is a scandal.”
Lauren Gray, Councilor of the Carrickfergus Alliance, approved the motion, noting that “periods do not stop because of a pandemic”.
She went on to say that the proposal was also about “changing mindsets” by making contemporary products “as visible as possible” and “giving girls a safe space to access products when needed”.
James McKeown, Councilor for Sinn Fein on the Coastal Road, said, “I think we should follow the example of the Scottish Government and make sanitary products available in all public buildings.”
Coast Road Ulster union councilor Maureen Morrow said it could be difficult for girls to access these products without asking for them or finding the money to buy them.
Cllr Morrow said that not only could they be made available in public buildings, but they could also be supported by the food banks.
However, Balymena DUP City Councilor Alderman Audrey Wales suggested that the City Council “recognize the work of the Minister of Education to ensure that period products are freely available in schools that recognize the work done by the Hygiene Bank, Ballymena and Equality Period in Larne and the council’s community planning team assists them in securing future grants. “
This amendment was adopted by 20 votes in favor and nine against.
by Michelle Weir, local democracy reporter