herald

Thursday 16 August 2018

Mum's last call home before freak accident

TRAGIC: 'I'll be home soon, dad'

TRAGIC Lynda Collins made a final call just minutes before she was killed by a falling tree. The mum-of-three spoke to her father – who was minding her children – to tell him she’d be home soon.

The 45-year-old phoned her dad – former Lord Mayor of Dublin Fergus O’Brien– as she walked along Waterloo Road in Ballsbridge. Mr O’Brien was minding the children in her house at the time, and Lynda called him to say she'd be home soon, the Herald understands.

"Lynda had just been on the phone to her dad to tell him she would be home soon, but she was killed very soon after she finished the call," a friend of the family said. "The next call her dad got was to say that Lynda had been involved in a serious accident." Mrs Collins, an ESB employee, was making the short trip to her Blackrock home when a large section of a mature tree snapped in near gale-force winds and pinned her to the ground.

She finished the phone call minutes before she was hit by the falling tree.

More than 50 passers-by were on the scene within seconds, trying to move the tree and comforting the stricken mum.



MINISTER

But despite the frantic efforts of witnesses and the emergency services, Mrs Collins -- a devoted mum to Georgia (14), Robert (13) and Juliana (7) -- was pronounced dead at St Vincent's Hospital.

The driver of a car hit by the same tree managed to avoid serious injury.

The freak accident happened at about 5pm on Thursday. Mrs Collins was due to celebrate her 46th birthday yesterday.

Her father Fergus O'Brien was Lord Mayor of Dublin between 1980 and '81 and was also a junior minister in Fine Gael-led governments in the 1980s.

Mr O'Brien (80), who lives in Ranelagh, was first elected to the Dail for Fine Gael in 1973 for the constituency of Dublin South Central.

He held his seat almost continuously until his retirement in 1992. Lynda was the second oldest of his six children.

Her devastated husband Richard, a financial director with Superquinn, paid tribute to his "brilliant" wife, describing her as a "warm and giving person".

"As a mother she was brilliant, she put in huge work with Juliana who was severely epileptic, having three or four fits a day. But, with all the work, she is great now and not fitting any more," Mr Collins said. "Lynda was a very giving person, she even gave up her work as a chartered accountant so I could take my career forward."

Mr Collins explained he was in work on Thursday evening when he got a call from gardai saying Mrs Collins had been in a serious accident and they needed to get him to Vincent's Hospital as quickly as possible.



mixer

"They sent a car out for me, and told me that a tree had fallen on Waterloo Road, and when I got to the hospital they took me into a room and told me Lynda hadn't made it. It's just one of those freak accidents.

"She was a very giving person, and everyone knew her around here," he added. "She was a really outgoing and warm person and a great mixer, whereas I am the opposite.

"I knew the day I met her that I wanted to marry her."

cfeehan@herald.ie

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