Born in Arranagh, Co. Limerick, in 1881, Cornelius “Con” Collins began working as a clerk in the post office in 1902. A member of the Irish Volunteers and the IRB, he was despatched with Austin Stack to meet Sir Roger Casement at Banna Strand days before the Easter Rising broke out, but was arrested and imprisoned in Tralee. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in June and was interned for a period of twelve months. After his unopposed election in December 1918, Collins sat in the First Dáil as a representative of Limerick West. He opposed the Anglo-Irish Treaty but did not participate in the Civil War and retired from politics in 1923.
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