Tributes follow death of former ‘Press’ man
Published 15/01/2016 | 02:30
Former Deputy Editor of ‘The Sunday Press’ Willie Collins has passed away peacefully after a short illness.
The 89-year-old died at home on Wednesday surrounded by his loving family. He was just days away from his 90th birthday.
Mr Collins worked with the Irish Press Group for more than 35 years before its closure in 1995.
His “all-encompassing and energetic approach to journalism” led his sons to follow in his footsteps.
Stephen Collins currently serves as a Political Correspondent at ‘The Irish Times’. He previously held the title of Political Editor at the ‘Irish Press’, and the ‘Sunday Tribune’.
His eldest son Liam Collins, who served as Opinion Editor of the Irish Independent until last year, said his father “loved everything about newspapers.”
“He loved everything about the industry and loved newspapers. He was an avid reader of the Irish Independent after the closure of the ‘Irish Press’ right up until his death,” said Liam.
“He would have always been considered as a backroom journalist. But he loved the big stories.
“He fondly remembered the big set-pieces, like the Pope’s and JFK’s visits.
“He was loved by so many young journalists, and he always had time to listen to them and helped to champion many careers. But he wouldn’t be long telling you if you made a mistake.
“He will be missed by us all. Thankfully, he lived a full and long life with no regrets.”
Former Editor of ‘The Sunday Press’ Michael Keane paid tribute to his late colleague, saying that he was the “fulcrum of the newsroom.”
“He was the engine room of ‘The Sunday Press’ and had an all-encompassing and energetic approach to journalism. He was a wonderful journalist and a wonderful friend.”
‘Sunday Independent’ Executive Editor Campbell Spray, who was Features Editor at the ‘Irish Press’ from 1979 to 1982, added: “Willie Collins was a gentleman and inspirational journalist. So many generations of writers owe so much to his art and instinctive newspaper brain.”
A native of Doon, Co Limerick, Mr Collins spent the majority of his adult life living in Dublin. He is survived by his wife Mary, sons Liam and Stephen and daughters Deirdre, Marcella, and Nuala.