Eddie Collins, former Fine Gael minister and TD, dies aged 78

Eddie Collins, former Fine Gael minister and TD, dies aged 78

The death has taken place of former Fine Gael TD, minister and mayor of Waterford Eddie Collins.

Mr Collins, who was a Fine Gael member and representative for many years, died on Monday morning at University Hospital Waterford after a long illness at the age of 78.

Former taoiseach John Bruton paid tribute to Mr Collins in a statement, saying he was "deeply saddened" by the Waterford city native's death.

"I met Eddie Collins for the first time when I went to Waterford to campaign for him in the 1966 by-election," Mr Bruton recalled.

It was an exciting old-style campaign with parades and rallies on behalf of the rival parties as well as intense local canvassing.

Eddie Collins was a member of Waterford Corporation from 1964 to 1981 and Waterford County Council from 1979 to 1981. He was unsuccessful in the 1966 Dáil by-election but did win a seat in the 1969 general election, retaining it until 1987.

He was Fine Gael's education spokesman from 1977 until 1981 and, according to John Bruton, was "exceptionally active" in drafting new policies, including a proposal to establish local education structures and the introduction of an adult education bill.

He was minister of state at the Department of Industry and Energy from 1981 to 1982 and at the Department of Industry, Trade, Commerce and Tourism until 1987.

"I found him to be an exceptionally hard-working, creative, reliable and loyal colleague," Mr Bruton said.

After the 1987 general election when he lost his Dáil seat, Eddie Collins became a lecturer in economics at the Institute of Technology in Tallaght.

He was Mayor of Waterford in 1975.

Mr Collin was pre-deceased by his wife Lelia and is survived by his daughter Elizabeth, son Edward and other relatives and friends.

He will be buried in Ballygunner Cemetery on Thursday following funeral Mass in the Sacred Heart Church, The Folly, Waterford, at 12 noon.


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