A single mother and early school leaver has been elected President of Trinity College Dublin’s Students’ Union.
30-year-old Lynn Ruane defied the odds and won the election with almost 43% of the vote.
The mother-of-two sat her Junior Cert exams at eight months pregnant and left school shortly afterwards.
She worked as a drugs addiction worker before returning to education three years ago through the Trinity Access Programme.
The Tallaght native was overwhelmed by the support students gave to her campaign, describing it as a “social movement”.
“There was a sudden movement in my campaign. My campaign team was multiplying by the day, just strangers turning up and wanting to be involved. They attached themselves to the positivity of the campaign, because it was based around equality and inclusion. So I started to see that there was momentum growing after the first few days,” she told The College View.
The philosophy, political science, economics and sociology student dismissed concerns that her parenting would be affected by the responsibility of her new role at the hustings held two weeks ago.
She was challenged by a supporter of another presidential candidate as to whether she could parent effectively in the role of TCD SU president and as to where she would live.
She describes the questions as “naïve”, saying that, ”I wouldn’t have got too worked up about it. A lot of people got worked up about it. It is a sexist question. If I was a man, I wouldn’t have been asked that,” she said.
Ruane, who will be the first female president in 12 years, works as Student Parent Officer in the university at present.
The self-described community activist hopes to reach out to secondary school students and aid their progression on to further education as part of her new role.
“I want to lobby the college to introduce a credit system whereby students in Trinity receive credits for mentoring kids that are in fifth and sixth year in school, in disadvantaged schools, to hopefully try and aid their progression on to Trinity College or any third level education,” she said.
Ruane follows in the footsteps of broadcaster Joe Duffy, Fianna Fail Senator Averil Power and Storyful’s Mark Little.