Colley, George

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Colley, George

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  • Colley, George Joseph Pearse

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George Joseph Pearse Colley was born in Dublin on 18 October 1925. He qualified as a solicitor in 1948. From 1949 to 1954 he was a partner in Colley and Moylan solicitors, and from 1954 to 1965 practised as George J. Colley & Co. Colley became Fianna Fáil TD for Dublin North East in 1961. He was re-elected in 1965, for Dublin North Central in 1969 and 1973, for Clontarf in 1977, and for Dublin Central in 1981 and in the two general elections of 1982.) In 1964 Colley became parliamentary secretary to the Minister for Lands, and in 1965 became Minister for Education, and later minister for Industry and Commerce. On Charles Haughey's dismissal from the cabinet in April 1970 Colley became Minister for Finance (retaining responsibility for the Gaeltacht). He oversaw preparations for decimal currency and participated effectively in the negotiations surrounding Ireland's entry into the EEC. On Fianna Fáil's return to power in 1977 Colley became Minister for Finance and Tánaiste. That same year he chaired the boards of governors of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development and the International Monetary Fund. Colley remained deputy leader following the party's narrow defeat in the June 1981 general election. After Fianna Fáil failed to win an overall majority in February 1982 he participated in abortive attempts to overthrow Haughey; he was refused reappointment as tánaiste, turned down the Department of Education, and retired to the backbenches. Colley had a lifelong commitment to the Irish language and Gaeltacht development; during his ministerial responsibility for the Gaeltacht he established Raidio na Gaeltachta. On 7 September 1983, Colley suffered a major heart attack. He received emergency surgery, but died 17 September 1983.

By Patrick Maume, Dictionary of Irish Biography (2009) DOI:


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  • English



Dictionary of Irish Biography (2009) DOI:

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