In his early life, the Dublin native was educated by the Cistercian Monks in Mount Melleray, Co Waterford. He later became a social worker, before taking up office as a public representative in Midleton in 1967.
Taoiseach Micheál Martin said Mr Collins would be “sorely missed by the people of Cork”, adding that he “never tired from fighting for the most vulnerable in his community”.
“He had a vocational passion for his role of public representative that earned him a devoted base of voters... He had unique dedication to the cause of helping the marginalised and endless stamina in meeting the needs of his constituents — [he was] someone who could be called on at any time of the day or night.”