Simon Harris has called for VAT to be removed from condoms and menstrual cups.
Ahead of last year's Budget, the Health Minister wanted a review of Ireland’s tax approach on these products ahead of last year’s Budget, but no changes were made, according to The Journal.
Since then, his position on the issue has strengthened which has resulted in him calling for VAT on such products to be scrapped in this October’s Budget.
Currently, the reduced rate of VAT of 13.5% applies to condoms, which usually retail between €13 - €20, but the minister wants this brought down to 0%.
A VAT rate of 23% is presently applied to 'newer' menstrual products such as menstrual cups, which range in price from €20 - €30.
Contraceptive gels for use in conjunction with barrier methods of contraception also have a 13.5% rate applied.
The contraceptive pill, however, boasts 0% VAT.
In a letter from Harris to Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe, the health minister said that in light of the work ongoing to reduce the number of women with crisis pregnancies the VAT rates “runs contrary to our work for people to practice safer sex and avoid crisis pregnancies and STIs”.
The letter, which was released under the Freedom of Information Act, states that the aim of the Sexual Health Strategy is to “improve sexual health and well being and to reduce negative sexual health outcomes”.
The call for reform is part of the minister’s challenge to overhaul the cost and availability of contraception in Ireland.
Earlier this year, the government announced that it wanted to increase the availability of free contraception such as condoms in a bid to reduce crisis pregnancies.
The minister said he also plans to reduce the cost of the morning-after pill or perhaps make it free for all women.
Last Monday, Harris announced that condoms would be distributed across third-level colleges in the final months of the year.
Main image by @mamakbelajar