Overview of Abolish Direct Provision’s campaign:
Abolish Direct Provision is a non-profit group working directly with asylum seekers in direct provision. This International Women’s day, Abolish Direct Provision are seeking to help female asylum seekers tackle period poverty. The campaign involves getting TDs, Councillors and Senators to sign a pledge to tackle period poverty in direct provision, there will be a series of talks with asylum seekers and youth activists who want to work together to tackle this problem, despite political differences.
Introduction about the Period Poverty Bill:
Two Senators have submitted legislation on tackling period poverty, Labour’s Rebecca Moynihan and Fianna Fáil’s Lorraine Clifford-Lee. Many people who go through periods were surveyed last year and more than half have experienced issues paying for sanitary products. If the bill is enacted it would provide free period products which will be available in schools, education institutions and public service buildings. The bill also places an onus on the Minister for Health to engage in an information campaign to ensure people know where to obtain the products.
Why is this event taking place?
We have invited youth activists from Social Democrats, Sinn Féin, Green Party, People Before Profit, Fine Gael, Fianna Fáil and Labour Party. In addition to this we have invited some special guests, Cllr Uruemu Adejinmi (Fianna Fáil), Senator Annie Hoey (Labour Party), Deputy Neasa Hourigan (Green Party), Senator Lynn Boylan (Sinn Féin), Senator Lorraine Clifford-Lee (Fianna Fáil), Senator Mary Seery Kearney (Fine Gael), Cllr Carly Bailey (Social Democrats) and Cllr Adrienne Wallace (People Before Profit). We are holding this event to raise awareness about period poverty and the struggles female asylum seekers go through in Direct Provision. We will have a Q & A session at the end and some space for female asylum seekers to tell their story.
Life for women in Direct Provision:
Most people living in direct provision are women. Women have to ask for toilet paper or they have to buy it at a high price in the in-house shops attached to many direct provision centres. Period products are overpriced, some are bad quality and not suitable for women with health issues. Not every centre offers them for free. Nappies are expensive ranging from €15-18, and takes up a lot of the €38 a week that asylum seekers get. When an asylum seeker gives birth, the State only gives them a once off payment of €50 for the baby. There have been many miscarriages in direct provision due to mental health issues. This is why it is important that period products, toilet paper and nappies are provided for free in all direct provision centres. We call on Minister O’Gorman to fulfill the promise the last government made in 2018 and offer free period products to all direct provision centres.