Contraception for women aged between 17 and 25 years will be free from August next year, as part of measures announced in Budget 2022.

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath today announced a women's health package worth €31 million.

Positive measures for women included in Budget 2022 have been broadly welcomed.

Irish Family Planning Association Chief Executive Officer Niall Behan said that removing cost from contraception will empower young women and enable them to choose the method that works best for them.

"The high upfront cost of the most effective long-lasting contraceptives makes them inaccessible to many women, who are currently forced to rely on less effective methods, or no method at all."

Homeless Period Ireland has welcomed that there will be "progress" following the work of the Period Poverty Implementation Group according to Minister McGrath.

It follows a report by the Period Poverty Sub-Committee of the National Strategy for Women and Girls Strategy Committee which was published in February.

The report noted the potential adverse consequences of period poverty which can include exclusion from activities of daily living during menstruation and physical and mental impacts from both exclusion and the use of unsuitable period products.

Homeless Period Ireland has described as "positive" to see funds being allocated to women's health issues such as period poverty.

"We look forward to seeing how and when this funding will be allocated as those in need cannot afford to wait."

While the health measures for women have been welcomed, the National Women's Council of Ireland has expressed disappointment over Budget 2022.

It says there is no "clear transformative investment", to tackle structural inequalities experienced by women.

Women had already entered the pandemic from an unequal place, according to Director Orla O'Connor and the social and economic consequences of the crisis have been disproportionately borne by women.

She described as "disappointing and a missed opportunity" that the Government "does not commit to the development of a public childcare model".