SDLP Lisburn North candidate Pat Catney has said that free period products must be available to everyone who needs them.
He was speaking after the Department of Education cut funding to schools to provide the products by more than 40% due to budgetary pressures.
Mr Catney introduced successful legislation in the Assembly last year to make free period products available in all schools, colleges and public buildings.
Mr Catney said:
"This decision by the Department of Education shows the importance of the free period products legislation introduced by the SDLP during the last Assembly mandate. While the Department of Education currently has the power to cut this vital funding to schools, when the provisions contained within my legislation are introduced it will ensure that these products are available for free in all schools for anyone who needs them.
“While I understand the pressure facing our public finances, I am despairing at the almost daily announcement of cuts facing vulnerable people in our society, many of them children. While working on my legislation I met with groups and those impacted by period poverty and heard firsthand from them how it affected their lives, forcing them to miss school, work and many other important events in their lives, creating shame and robbing people of their dignity.
“Schools have already been clear about the negative impact this decision by the department will have on those who need these products, forcing a further expense on families at what is already an extremely trying time. Nobody should have to pay for these products, they are vital healthcare and I look forward to the provisions of my bill being introduced across Northern Ireland so that nobody will have to go without them again.”