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Thursday, August 12, 2010

Members of the First Dáil - Con Collins

Cornelius "Con" Collins

(Cornelius) Con Collins (Irish: Conchubhar Ó Coileáin; 13 November 1881 – 23 November 1937) was an Irish Sinn Féin politician.

He was born in Arranagh, Newcastle West, County Limerick. He had joined the Gaelic League by 1910 when working in London for the civil service. He was a member of the Irish Volunteers and of the Irish Republican Brotherhood. He and Austin Stack had been on their way to meet Sir Roger Casement at Banna Strand in County Kerry in 1916 when they were arrested by the British authorities on Easter Saturday. They spent Easter Week in Tralee Barracks and in solitary confinement on Spike Island, County Cork; they were then held with Terence MacSwiney, Arthur Griffith and others in Richmond Barracks before being sentenced to penal servitude for life. He was deported to Frongoch in Wales where he spent the rest of the year and much of 1917.

He was elected as a Sinn Féin MP for Limerick West at the 1918 general election. In January 1919, Sinn Féin MPs who had been elected in the Westminster elections of 1918 refused to recognise the Parliament of the United Kingdom and instead assembled at the Mansion House in Dublin as a revolutionary parliament called Dáil Éireann. At the 1921 Irish elections, he was elected for the constituency of Kerry–Limerick West. He opposed the Anglo-Irish Treaty and voted against it.

He refused an offer of the Ministry for Posts and Telegraphs if he would switch to the pro-Treaty side. Having been sworn to non-violence – together with Richard Mulcahy – by the Augustinians, he did not join the anti-Treaty forces. He was again re-elected for Kerry–Limerick West at the 1922 general election, this time as anti-Treaty Sinn Féin Teachta Dála (TD). He did not contest the 1923 general election and retired from politics. He died in Dublin and is buried in Mount St. Lawrence cemetery, Limerick.

He and Piaras Béaslaí share a distinction in that they contested and were elected in three Irish general elections, without a vote being cast in their favour on each occasion.

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