Lynn Ruane is an independent senator serving in Seanad Éireann, a former President of Trinity College Dublin’s Students’ Union and has long been an activist and campaigner on issues of justice and equality.
Lynn grew up on a local authority estate in Killinarden, Tallaght and left school early as a single mother at the age of fifteen. She eventually returned to education through a programme for young mothers in An Cosán, a community education project founded by Katherine Zappone and Ann-Louise Gilligan in Jobstown.
Following her time in An Cosán, Lynn began a diploma in addiction studies at the age of 17 in the Institute of Technology, Tallaght. At the age of 18, she started developing addiction programmes in west Dublin. After fifteen years of community and addiction work, Lynn responded to the devastating impact and injustice of austerity cuts on the sector by deciding to progress further with her education.
Lynn gained access to Trinity College through the Trinity Access Programme, an initiative designed to improve access to the university from disadvantaged and minority groups in 2011. She began a degree in Philosophy, Political Science, Sociology and Economics as a mature student when she was 27.
In 2015, Lynn ran for the presidency of the college’s students’ union on a platform of equality, access and inclusion and was elected, becoming the first female president in a decade and the first mature student president since the 1990s. Her presidency was marked by a focus on equality of access to education, opposition to the introduction of university fees & a student loan scheme and the encouragement of a culture of activism within the student body.
Lynn announced her decision to run to represent Trinity graduates in the Seanad in November 2015 and five months later, she was elected to Seanad Éireann at the age of 31.