Róisín Meets... Lynn Ruane, elected TCD SU president

Podcast: Ruane, who left school at 15 when she became pregnant, is a former addiction worker


President-elect of Trinity College Students’ Union Lynn Ruane has criticised cutbacks in student services, describing them as “mimicking the community sector”.

“There’s a lot people making big money off the back of students, and it was the same in the community sector for me. It’s all about moving more and more towards privatization of things,” she said on the Irish Times’ Roisin Meets podcast.

Ruane, who left school at 15 when she became pregnant, is a former addiction worker.

She led projects in the Bluebell outreach program in Dublin’s south inner city, but left program to attend university when cutbacks convinced her she would need to “come back in at a different level” to improve addiction services.

PODCAST: Róisín Meets...Lynn Ruane

“People were making money off people in addiction, and making big wages and everyone fighting for the same scraps of funding… you needed to up your numbers in drug users,” she said.

After entering Trinity through its access program, she decided to run for Student Union president when she found that students are being “treated as revenue and not as students there for an education”.

“That same anger was igniting in me that I felt then… yeah you come here, you pay your fees, you get your education, but you’re a commodity, you’re a revenue, you’re a way for us to make money. I suppose we wouldn’t see it that way of money that we paid was being put into student services, but it’s not,” she said.

“The Provost this year published a strategic plan, a lovely plan talking about strengthening community and increasing the number non-traditional students and increasing diversity, but yet his expenditure does nothing to reflect that strategy,” she said.

She said that higher fees for students would “push a lot of poorer people out of college.”

Ruane also described the student body as passive and called on them to engage in student politics.

“I want them to voice how unjust some of these things that are happening in the college are,” she said.