Michael J. Collins (born 1 November 1940) is an Irish politician who served as a Teachta Dála (TD) for Limerick West from 1997 to 2007. Until 2002 he was a member of Fianna Fáil, and since then has been independent.
Michael Collins was born in Abbeyfeale, County Limerick in 1940. He is the son of James Collins and a brother of Gerry Collins, both Fianna Fáil members of Dáil Éireann. Collins was involved in local politics for many years, serving as a councillor and chairman of the Limerick County Council. He was first elected to Dáil Éireann at the 1997 general election as a Fianna Fáil TD and held his seat until retiring at the 2007 general election citing health reasons. His nephew, Niall Collins was elected to succeed him, maintaining the family's continuous occupation of a seat in that constituency since the 1948 general election.
Collins hit the headlines in 2003 when it was revealed that he had set up a bogus offshore account to evade paying tax. He settled the bill with the Revenue Commissioners, paying over €130,000 in taxes, interest and penalties. He also resigned from the Fianna Fáil parliamentary party after it emerged he was on a list of tax defaulters.
On 11 July 2006, Collins appeared in Rathkeale district court charged with two tax offences: cheating the Collector General and obtaining a tax clearance certificate by false pretences. He was remanded on bail until 28 September 2006 when he was due to appear at Limerick District Court. On 9 January 2007 the Court decided to adjourn the case until after the General Election.
On 28 September 2007 after just under an hour of deliberation, a jury of seven men and five women returned its verdict. Collins was found guilty of obtaining a tax clearance certificate under false pretences.
Collins provided a Tax Clearance Certificate and a Statutory Declaration to the Standards Commission on 14 June 2002 as evidence of his compliance with the Tax Acts.
When Collins name appeared in Iris Oifigiúil the State gazette, as the holder of a bogus non-resident bank account, the Standards Commission sought legal advice and were advised that in the absence of a complaint, it did not have the legal authority to investigate Collins. The Commission advised the Minister for Finance of the limitations of the Ethics Acts which had been exposed through this matter.
Subsequently, the Chairman of the Committee on Members' Interests of Dáil Éireann made a written complaint and the Committee determined that an investigation be carried out by the Commission on foot of this. The investigation commenced but has been suspended pending the outcome of the Garda investigation and legal proceedings. The Standards Commission is concerned at the length of time this matter has been under consideration and urges that it be resolved without delay.