TCDSU launches petition for free period products in all higher education institutions

Currently higher level institutions are under no obligation to provide free period products

A petition has been launched by Trinity College Dublin Students’ Union (TCDSU) calling on the government to “tackle socio-economic and gender inequality” on campuses by providing access to free period products to both staff and students.

An email sent out to students today by current Welfare and Equality Officer Aoife Bennett called on people to sign the petition.

“There is a clear demand for these initiatives, from students and staff,” the email said. “The initiative needs to be streamlined and supported on a governmental level.”

It continued: “By tackling period dignity head-on, we can directly tackle stigma and shame around periods for students and staff, thus making our campuses more inclusive places for members of our academic community from all backgrounds.”

“By ensuring access to free period products, especially as the housing and cost-of-living crises worsen, we can ensure that those from worse-off socioeconomic backgrounds are supported throughout their education,” it continued.

A report by Bennett in November 2023 detailed how the Period Product Proposal was supported by College’s Student Life Committee, but noted the need to lobby College in order to obtain funding and facilitate the implementation of this proposal.

College received a once-off fund of €7,000 last year from Trinity Trust, which saw period products made available in 10 bathrooms across campus and off-campus locations. The products were supplied by Irish brand We Are Riley.

Bennett’s proposal for College to fund period products in college bathrooms details how the stock of period products provided by We Are Riley depleted within a month.

In the proposal Bennett said that the pilot scheme “highlighted the demand for such an initiative in Trinity”.

“It is not feasible for the Union to continue running this scheme due to funding issues. Yet, it is crucial that we keep offering this support to the community,” Bennett continued.

At present University College Dublin (UCD), University of Limerick (UL) and Galway University are the only third level institutions across Ireland which fund the provision of free period products across their campuses.

Aoibhinn Clancy

Aoibhínn Clancy is the Deputy News Editor of Trinity News and is currently in her Junior Sophister Year studying History and Political Science.