People to watch in 2016: Advocacy and activism
Education, disability access, direct provision and women’s rights will likely be on the agenda in 2016
L-R: Louise Bruton, Alan O’Neill, Ellie Kisyombe, Lynn Ruane. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill
Student and equality activism
Ruane rose to prominence when she was elected president of Trinity College Students Union in February 2015. She left school when she became pregnant at 15, but enrolled in Trinity in her late 20s through its access programme. A strong voice on matters of equality, with a background in drug addiction work, she announced her candidacy for the Seanad at the end of last year, running as an independent. With three of the Seanad’s 60 members elected by Trinity graduates, could Ruane replace David Norris, Ivana Bacik or Sean Barrett?
Ruane is a hugely motivated activist, smart, articulate, and a critical thinker. Her preference for community over commodity struck a chord with students: “I hope beyond my year that if I can ignite that solidarity in students, that might be something that will carry on in my absence,” she said last February.