Dispensers of free condoms and lube are to be installed in several locations around Trinity’s campus within the next month, according to Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union Welfare Officer Aisling Leen.
Speaking to Trinity News, Leen said that she has been working with College’s Health Promotion Officer, Martina Mullin, to identify places to install the dispensers. She stated that current plans will see the dispensers put up in the SU Shop, the Atrium, the Sports Centre, the Counselling Service, Trinity Hall, Goldsmith Hall, Kavanagh Court, Binary Hub and The Pavilion Bar. Additionally, one dispenser is already in use in the College Health Centre.
The condoms and lube will be supplied by the HSE through a government initiative announced by Health Minister Simon Harris in August to make free condoms available to all third level students.
Speaking at the time, Minister Harris stated: “It is crucial we work to reduce the number of crisis pregnancies, increase awareness about sexually transmitted infections and improve sexual health.”
He outlined that “the first phase of the service will see a dispenser service being implemented across third-level colleges and university access points in quarter four of 2019”.
The decision followed advice given by the Oireachtas Committee on the Eighth Amendment that the government should increase access to free contraception.
Last year, the National Condom Distribution Service gave out 409,319 free condoms and 287,565 lubricant sachets.
Many students’ unions across the country, including TCDSU, already offer free condoms to students. However, Aisling Leen has welcomed this initiative, noting that “despite my best efforts to make condoms available all around campus, this system is much more accessible”. She further stressed that the dispensers “will be in some public and some more discreet areas, so students can take some without having to ask me or anyone else”.
“Simply put, the more locations around campus where condoms are available for students, the more likely students are to have protected sex.”
Leen also welcomed the fact that the HSE will be providing lube as well as condoms and said that in the future she would “other tools for safe sex such as dental dams will be made available too”.