Coyne, William Patrick (1866–1904), statistician, was born 18 May 1866 at Nenagh, Co. Tipperary, the second son of a merchant, Edward Coyne, and his wife, Maria (née Hayes). He was educated at St Stanislaus’ College, Tullabeg, and St Ignatius’ College, Temple Street, Dublin, from which he went on to be one of the first scholars at the Jesuit-run University College, St Stephen's Green, Dublin (1883). Coyne was active with Thomas Joseph Kettle (qv) in the Literary and Historical Society and, after leaving the college and seeing the society decline, he did much, as secretary (1897–1900), to revive it, including forming for its members a collection of books on catholic thought. After graduating BA and MA in mental and moral sciences at the RUI (1888, 1889), he joined the staff of the Freeman's Journal and wrote on social, economic, literary, and artistic matters. He was called to the Irish bar (1895) and spent some time in the USA. On his return he was appointed to a newly created fellowship in political economy and jurisprudence at the Royal University, to be held with a chair at University College (1899).
His ability as a statistician came to the attention of the chief secretary, Gerald Balfour (qv), who appointed him in 1900 to the post of superintendent of the statistics and intelligence branch of the newly created Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction for Ireland. Under his direction the branch began producing (from 1904) annual series of Irish trade statistics. As its head, he was the editor of Ireland, industrial and agricultural (1901), a collection of papers (many written by Coyne himself) which became the definitive work on the country's resources. It went into a second, extensively revised edition (1902) and won Coyne an honorary LLD from the Royal University (1903). It seemed that he was on the threshold of a brilliant career as a public servant, but he died of cancer on 3 January 1904, leaving a wife, Agnes Mary (née Martin), and five young children, among them Edward Joseph Coyne (qv) and Thomas J. Coyne (qv).