Lynn Ruane spoke about her life with Brendan O’Connor.
“I didn’t think I would live beyond sixteen,” admitted the newly elected TCDSU president as she described the difficult childhood from which she overcame to later become the first female president Trinity College has had in twelve years.
Lynn Ruane appeared on RTE’s Saturday Night Show last night, to discuss her inspirational journey, from dropping out of school and becoming pregnant at just fifteen to eventually taking on the highly prestigious role of TCDSU president.
“There was a lot of tragedies in Killinarden and that all impacted on me. There was a lot of death, mental health and addiction issues,” the 30 year old, Tallaght-native said.
“I felt I had to squash a lot of my life into a very short period of time. I felt I had to live life really, really fast and squash everything in, just in-case something happened to me too,” Ruane continued.
“It was not a certainty that you would live until old age. You kind of begin to just survive and base your success on that,” she confided to host Brendan O’Connor.
Ruane also took drugs in her “early teens”, adding that, “It was only when I found out I was pregnant that I stopped taking recreational drugs."
Ruane’s school experience posed many challenges for her, as she struggled to, “respond to the secondary school system,” also revealing the significant impact the treatment of one particular teacher had on her in primary school, in first class.
“She wasn’t very nice to me and excluded me a little bit... I knew that this wasn't right. A teacher is there to empower me and she wasn’t actually empowering me,” the single mother of two revealed.
Ruane, also admitting that she too “rebelled a little bit” during her school years, having dropped out in third year, resulting in her not being able to finish her Leaving Certificate.
She returned to third level education through Trinity’s access programme, however, and undertook a degree in philosophy, political science, economics and sociology as a mature student.
The task of enrolling in a highly esteemed college such as that of Trinity College did not phase her. “I had lived a very eventful life, so I wasn’t intimidated as I felt I deserved to be there,” Ruane affirmed.
Ruane was taken aback by the college on her first encounter with it. “I walked through the arch and I remember feeling a little bit amazed with Trinity then and decided that maybe one day I wouldn’t just walk through it but that I’d go in and stay there.”
Ruane denied any plans to pursue a career in politics. “I’m definitely not going to go into politics and won’t become a member of any political party - I don’t want to restrict myself in that way.” Ruane does, however, “believe in interest groups and social movements.”
Her story of her hard-fought journey to success drew praise across social media.
“Massive admiration for @LynnToWin, have heard her speak on @RTERadio1 & now on @RTESatnightshow #AnInspirationToUsAll,” wrote Jenny Lynch on twitter.
Another tweet, from Daleford, read, "Found @LynnToWin very inspirational on the Saturday night show. A woman with great drive and ambition."
Irish Times journalist Róisín Ingle also congratulated Ruane after her appearance, saying, “Live TV deffo an ordeal. You’re a natural though. Exciting times ahead. Good luck with your exams.”
Investigative reporter Philip Boucher-Hayes also tweeted about her interview, saying, “Effortlessly confident and interesting. Well done.”
Ruan was elected to the prestigious position of Trinity College's SU President just over a month ago, on the 13th of February, edging her closest competitor Conor O’Meara, by just ten percent of the total first preference votes.
Ruane attained 43 percent of the student vote, with O’Meara managing to win 33 percent. Ruan’s term as president will begin in July.
Photo: Lynn Ruane for SU President/ Facebook