Expansion of free contraception scheme and funding for IVF included in Budget 2023

Expansion Of Free Contraception Scheme And Funding For Ivf Included In Budget 2023 Expansion Of Free Contraception Scheme And Funding For Ivf Included In Budget 2023
Free contraception will be offered to all women aged 16-30 under the new plans. Photo: Getty Images
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Muireann Duffy

An expansion of the free contraception scheme for women and funding to help people access IVF treatments have been announced as part of Budget 2023.

Earlier this month, women aged 18-25 became eligible for free contraception, however the Government has confirmed the initiative will be extended from September 1st next year to include those aged 16-30.

The €107.1 million of additional funding allocated to the Department of Health as part of the cost-of-living package also includes measures which will help those undergoing IVF (In Vitro Fertilisation) treatment.

In addition, a zero rate of VAT will be applied to period products and Hormone Replace Therapies (HRT) as part of Budget 2023.

Following the announcement, Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly tweeted: "This year has seen several positive changes in the way we approach women's health."


Domestic violence

Outlining the budget in the Dáil on Tuesday, Minister for Public Expenditure Michael McGrath said the Department of Justice's funding for next year will support the delivery of an "ambitious five-year programme of reform to address service demand and support the establishment of a new statutory agency for domestic, sexual and gender-based violence".

Tusla, the child and family agency, will also receive €935 million for 2023, part of which will be used to "maintain supports for services to deal with domestic violence and gender-based violence" as well as measures to address recommendations from Tulsa's review into refuge provision.

In total, €9 million will be put towards the domestic, sexual and gender-based violence sector, which has been welcomed by the Dublin Rape Crisis Centre (DRCC).

"Some of this funding will go to meet the shortfall that currently exists for services," DRCC's chief executive Noeline Blackwell said, adding: "But it is very positive to see specific funding for the new agency."

"Our submission ahead of Budget 2023 highlighted the important work done in our sector and the impact of this funding gap on our work, so we very much welcome the ring-fencing of funds to relieve some of the strain as well as to provide for essential new projects and services," Ms Blackwell added.

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