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The Homeless Period Dublin initiative was born in December 2016. Their goal is to help women and girls who found themselves unable access to basic sanitation and female hygiene products every month.

Claire Hunt took over the general management of the Homeless Period Dublin initiative in 2017. A social media campaign was launched to highlight this issue; through this campaign it became apparent that this was a national issue. Emanating from this campaign, a decision was made to rebrand the initiative to Homeless Period Ireland (HPI). 


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This rebranding would help create awareness nationally and more importantly, increase the number of drop off points (places where the general public donate female sanitary and hygiene products) and more importantly, increase reach nationally to front line services who have direct access to the women in need.


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The aim of the Homeless Period Ireland is to donate feminine hygiene products (pads, tampons, liners, wipes) to those who otherwise would go without. The donations are brought by volunteer drivers to Homeless Outreach Centres, Direct Provision Centres and Women’s Refuges. The HPI is an initiative, not a charity and is 100 percent reliant on volunteers for distribution and collection of sanitary products.

The core objectives of the Homeless Period Ireland include:

  • breaking the stigma surrounding menstruation

  • educating people on the basic hygiene needs of women

  • educating people that periods are a monthly expense

  • encouraging people to purchase sanitary products and gift them through various pre-arranged donation points

  • ensuring that every woman in Ireland has access to sanitary products.

The Homeless Period Ireland has numerous drop-off points, such as:  

Tropical Popical, Waxperts, UCD, UL, IADT, Bella Baby, National Maternity Hospital.  An up-to-date list of drop off points can be found on their Facebook and Twitter pages. 

We would love to see more nationwide drop off points and anyone who can set one up in a shop, or business etc can drop an email to thehomelessperioddublin@gmail.com


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The Homeless Period Ireland hopes to educate people about period poverty and the “silent struggle” of many women living in Ireland, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg.


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HPI want the government to take action as Scotland did this year with the introduction of a scheme that gives free sanitary products to women in need.

On March 13, 2017, for the first time in history, an all female cross party motion on period poverty was passed in the Dail. This included a call for free period products in public buildings and most importantly improving education and working to normalise periods. 

This is a step in the right direction but the work of Homeless Period Ireland will still continue as many people in need will still experience period poverty. Young carers, women and girls in Direct Provision, homeless women, low income women reliant on food banks. They will continue to feel the stress and discomfort that is endured when having a period in difficult circumstances. 


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“When we all have access to period products only then will we end period poverty” 

“Periods happen every month and unless you are experiencing it, it’s not at the forefront of people’s minds” 


By Amy Donohoe

Research has found nearly half of teenage girls across Ireland are struggling to afford sanitary products during their period.

According to Plan International, out of over 1,100 young women aged between 12-19, nearly 50 per cent of Irish teenage girls find it difficult to afford sanitary products. Young girls even feel the need to hide her period from their family and friends.

Some of the young women said that they were forced to use a “less suitable sanitary product” such as tissues, cotton wool, doubling up on underwear or wearing a pad/ tampon for an exceeded amount of time because of the high monthly cost involved.

Reusable products aren’t sufficient and they’re not necessarily hygienic either. Pads and tampons are necessities but are still seen as luxury.

Nearly 60 per cent of young women said they did not find classes at school on periods helpful while six out of ten reported feeling embarrassed about their period.

A small number said they believed they could lose their virginity by using a tampon, while others did not think it was possible to become pregnant while on their period. 61 per cent of Irish girls have missed school because of their period and more than 80 per cent said they didn’t feel comfortable talking about their periods with their father or a teacher.

Nearly 70 per cent take some form of pain relief during menstruation.

Chief Executive Plan International Ireland Paul O’Brien said he hoped the study into young women’s views on their periods would help remove the stigma and shame associated with the natural female bodily function.

'We want girls to know it is OK to talk about their period- especially if half of the girls Plan International Ireland spoke to nationwide cannot afford products for their periods,' he said.

Alesha Dixon, an Always ambassador, said: 'The more awareness we can raise about this issue, the more we can help to remove the shame girls feel in talking about it. Puberty is a hard enough time to navigate without feeling embarrassed about not being able to afford essential sanitary products and no girl today should experience that.'

Scotland became the first country in the world to provide free sanitary products to women from low-income households in 2017, and from this month onwards it will become the first to make sanitary products easily accessible to those at school or university.

The 2016 film I, Daniel Blake, which features a woman in poverty stealing tampons, highlighting the issue of the price of sanitary products and it helped inspire Scotland’s pilot scheme.

In Ireland, pads can cost anywhere between €2.00 and €6.00 a pack with the average pack containing 10-15 pads. Tampons range in price from about €1.50 to €6.00 a pack.

A 12 pack of Nurofen painkillers costs €4.20. It will cost a woman with 13 periods a year €132.34 (approximately) for sanitary products per year.

Women who are homeless, in emergency accommodation, or struggling to feed themselves and their family unfortunately have to make a decision between buying tampons or food.

Image: The Homeless Period

Although shelters get an allowance from the Government every year to buy items like condoms, there’s still nothing for sanitary products, and that’s the same with Irish Universities.

Women who can’t afford sanitary products are left to go to public bathrooms to improvise.

The Homeless Period encourages people to donate sanitary products to homeless women.

'At present, there are over 1000 women sleeping on the streets of Dublin alone, and countless others who are living in emergency accommodation or in extreme financial strain at home. These women deserve the same basic level of hygiene each month that the majority can afford,'' Petra Hanlon of the Homeless Period said. '

'The Homeless Period Dublin is an important initiative to not only bring donations of sanitary products to those in need, but also to break down the taboo surrounding periods and to educate that this is a monthly basic hygiene need and expense for all women,'' she added.

In Dublin, you can currently drop your donation off at any Simon Community shop or centre, in Smithfield in the Market Pharmacy, in An Siol Community Development Project on Manor Street or Tropical Popical on South William Street.

Many women everyday get caught short and have received their period unexpectedly. Whether it’s awkwardly running to the shop to get emergency supplies or having to improvise, it happens. It could be an idea for businesses to buy supplies from wholesalers and supply something for their female staff.

It’s often wondered how much companies could save if they stopped providing other perks, such as free tea and coffee. But we don’t need free tea and coffee.

You won’t have an embarrassing accident without tea or coffee. Similarly, not everyone needs female sanitary products but not everyone takes advantage of the free drinks in offices.



Half of Irish girls report money obstacles when needing sanitary products, a survey has indicated. 

A further 61 percent of the young women involved in the poll said they experienced embarrassment surrounding their periods. 

The survey was undertaken by Plan International Ireland a child rights, especially girl’s rights organisation.

They rolled out a survey on period stigma and affordability to 1,100 Irish girls from the ages of 12 to 19. 

Out of those who were polled, 50 percent said they had experienced issues with affording the sanitary products. 

Furthermore, 109 girls of those girls said they had to switch to a less suitable product because of the price.

The results revealed that almost two-thirds of the young women said the school lessons they received about their period were not helpful.

Caoimhe Dowling who took part in the survey, according to the Irish Examiner said:

"When I was younger, I felt the need to hide my period from both my family and my friends. I was made to feel shame for this biological fact of life. No person should feel shame for having a period." 

“Now, being a student means a lot of saving and scrimping to get by with the little money I get from my job. I am reminded monthly of the large chunk of money that I am forced to spend on the necessities for my period.

I’m still not used to looking at the receipt after buying pads and seeing this huge sum that I need to fork over. Pads and tampons are necessities but are still seen as luxury,” she added.

It also came to light, that another 110 participates replied that they have never had classes in their school to do with their periods.

A large proportion of the girls polled carry shame and embarrassment about their periods. 

Over 61 percent said they often feel embarrassment surrounding it and would not feel comfortable disclosing they are on their period to male counterparts in their families. 


Education is being impacted by periods as 61 percent missed school due to it and a huge 88 percent feel their concentration is affected. 

Meanwhile, misconceptions about periods are still prevalent from the survey,  84 participates said it wasn’t possible to get pregnant during their time of the month.

Another 79 girls thought they could lose their virginity to a tampon.

Plan International Ireland CEO, Paul O Brien said:

“From our research we know girls feel uncomfortable talking about their periods with family members and teachers. Through this survey we hope to start a conversation and end the taboos on menstruation.

"We want girls to know it is ok to talk about their period- especially if half of the girls Plan International Ireland spoke to nationwide cannot afford products for their periods."