Northern Ireland libraries now offering free period products thanks to new law

Free period products are available at all local libraries in Northern Ireland
Free period products are available at all local libraries in Northern Ireland -Credit:Libraries NI

All local libraries across Northern Ireland are now offering free period products for anyone who needs them thanks to a new law.

The significant development follows the passing of the Period Products (Free Provision) Act (Northern Ireland) 2022, marking a pivotal step in addressing an essential aspect of personal care and normalising access to these vital products.

Local libraries will stock a range of period products, ensuring that anyone can access the specific items they require with ease. Clear signage within library branches will guide visitors to the designated area, promoting a self-serve approach without having to seek assistance from library staff.

Read more: Northern Ireland period poverty legislation to be launched next week

Read more: The 'life changing' Belfast group supporting women through menopause

Julie Reid, Libraries NI Deputy Head of Service, said: "Libraries are ideally positioned to provide a safe and welcoming space for anyone to access period products free of charge while maintaining dignity, privacy and confidentiality.

"Previously, there was no scheme providing free period products in Northern Ireland, making this initiative a ground breaking endeavour with local libraries acting as the Executive Office’s primary delivery partner for access to period products.

“We are delighted to support the delivery of this scheme and I would encourage anyone who needs period products, whether for yourself, a friend or a family member, to feel free to visit your local library and take home what you need, when you need them.”

Former Lagan Valley MLA and current Lisburn North SDLP councillor, Pat Catney, brought forward the initial proposal that now provides freely accessible period products across schools, universities and government buildings.

Speaking to the Local Democracry Reporting Service (LDRS) Cllr Catney said: "I have three daughters and three granddaughters and to think of any of them finding themselves in a situation where they would not be able to gain access to period products is just terrible.

"But, for families really struggling in a cost of living crisis or even women who have been made homeless it has become a sad reality. If this was a male problem, it would probably have been sorted out in the Stone Age such is the way of the male dominated political world, even though periods effect 50% of the population."

The next phase of the new legislation will see the full expansion of free period products available at schools and colleges, as well as across all government public buildings.

For all the latest news, visit the Belfast Live homepage here and sign up to our daily newsletter here.