THE son of the late Brian Lenihan has been elected as president of the students' union in Trinity College – after bravely revealing his personal battle with depression.
Tom Lenihan (21) ran a colourful and humorous campaign by dressing up in a tiger suit while jogging down Grafton Street, doing press-ups on the Luas and falling off a treadmill machine.
But he made the issue of student mental health his number one priority – releasing a video in which he spoke of his own personal experience of fighting depression. "I've had depression since I was 13 and there have been times when I've lost the battle. But when you've friends, you can overcome it. Just never give up," he told fellow students.
Mr Lenihan topped the poll with around 1,900 first preference votes and was elected on the third count.
The third-year law and business student made no reference during the campaign to his father, who died in 2011 after battling pancreatic cancer.
He is not a member of Fianna Fail and has not outlined any ambitions to run for the Dail in the future.
Owen Bennett, the editor of Trinity's 'University Times' newspaper, said Mr Lenihan had always been the favourite to be elected president, even though he was up against two strong female candidates.
"He had a fantastic campaign because he used humour and hype to drive his campaign – and then he was able to discuss his policies and his ideas," he said.
Mr Lenihan was not afraid to poke fun at himself to get students' attention, downing raw eggs, pouring beer over his head and knocking down the "Please keep off the grass" signs in Trinity.
But he also pledged to install a student kitchen so they could heat up meals on campus rather than having to buy expensive meals.
Mr Lenihan will take over as student union president in Trinity on July 7 on a salary of around €18,000.