Murphy: Nobody should miss out on learning because of period poverty

Date published: 29 April 2024

Nobody should miss out on learning because of period poverty, Economy Minister Conor Murphy said today.

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Minister Murphy was speaking as regulations were approved by the Assembly to ensure that free period products will be available to learners and staff at local further education colleges and higher education institutions.

The Minister said:

“Research has shown that women can often struggle to afford sanitary products and can find themselves using unsuitable products as a result. In further and higher education settings, students experiencing period poverty can find that they are unable to attend classes or even exams if they do not have access to period products. This is unacceptable and an issue I am glad to be able to address.”

The Minister added:

“Today’s move builds on the success of previous pilot programmes in local further and higher education settings which have seen more than 180,000 period products distributed free and helped reduce period poverty.”

The draft Period Products (the Department for the Economy Specified Public Service Bodies) Regulations (NI) 2024 were laid before the Assembly on 29 March 2024 and will come into effect after being approved. The regulations relate to the Department for the Economy’s section 2 duties under the Period Products (Free Provision) Act (NI) 2022.

Notes to editors: 

1. The Period Products (Free Provision) Act (NI) 2022 is available on the website

2. Non-educational bodies under the Department for the Economy which fall within the remit of the regulations are:

  • Construction Industry Training Board Northern Ireland
  • Labour Relations Agency
  • Consumer Council for Northern Ireland
  • the Fair Employment Tribunal
  • the Industrial Tribunal;
  • Invest NI
  • Tourism NI.

3. To keep up to date with news from the Department for the Economy you can follow us on the following social media channels:

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LinkedIn – Department for the Economy NI 

4. For media enquiries contact the Department for the Economy Press Office at 

5. The Executive Information Service operates an out of hours service for media enquiries only between 1800hrs and 0800hrs Monday to Friday and at weekends and public holidays. The duty press officer can be contacted on 028 9037 8110.

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