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Budget2020: NWCI calls for free contraception

Published: Wednesday, July 03, 2019

The National Women’s Council of Ireland (NWCI) today called for the Government to commit to delivering free contraception in Budget 2020, as well as ensuring proper funding for the National Maternity Strategy. At the launch of their Pre-Budget Submission “Equality Now – Invest in Women” in Leinster House today, NWCI also called for the establishment of a Statutory Maintenance Agency, as well as investment to solve the childcare crisis and the housing and homelessness emergency.

Investment in vital public services

Orla O’Connor, Director of NWCI said,

“While facing into Brexit uncertainty, with enduringly high childcare costs, and the highest rate of women homelessness in Europe, the economic decisions and political choices made in Budget 2020 will be a strong expression of our intentions as a country. It is simply impossible to say that we can afford tax cuts, yet we cannot tackle the affordability of childcare for all, build the necessary public housing or provide the appropriate number of refuge places for women fleeing violence. Budget 2020 must protect the most vulnerable in society, and moreover invest in an equal future for women.”

“Quite simply, we cannot afford the costs of not investing in these vital public services, particularly as our economy meets the challenges presented by Brexit. Alongside investment in childcare, housing and refuge spaces, NWCI has specific asks around maternity services, contraception, and a Statutory Maintenance Agency.”


Dr Cliona Loughnane, Women’s Health Coordinator said,

“We’re calling on Budget 2020 to provide free contraception for all women who need it. Free contraception would best ensure women have access to all forms of evidence-based contraception and importantly, that they can use the method that is most suitable for them. Contraception is typically still largely a woman’s concern, which means that it is women who are paying for it. Universal access would ensure women have access to the health care required to enjoy fulfilling and healthy sexual relations; support prevention of unplanned pregnancies, reducing the need for abortion; and reduce incidence of STIs.”

Statutory Maintenance Agency

Orla O’Connor said,

“Budget 2020 needs to commit to the establishment of a Statutory Maintenance Authority to reduce the burden on mothers who parent alone to litigate for child maintenance. As things stand, women are forced to secure child maintenance through the courts in an approach that is costly, complex and time consuming. This Agency will be invaluable to women who require its services, and it will also save the State money long term by reducing the need for legal aid as well as removing this process from the already overburdened courts system.”

Maternity Services

Dr Cliona Loughnane, Women’s Health Coordinator said,

“Budget 2020 must contain a commitment to staffing resources to ensure the proper resourcing of the National Maternity Strategy. The Maternity Strategy was developed partially in response to tragedies in our maternity services and was meant to develop quality, safe, consistent and well-resourced care in the State’s 19 maternity units. Without proper funding, the intentions to build a more women-centred approach to maternity care, including through establishment of a new community midwifery service to facilitate better continuity of care and more choice in birth with better information and communication throughout the different stages of pregnancy and birth, will go unrealised.”

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For more information, please contact Sarah Clarkin, Communications Officer, 085 8619087.