Colley, Henry Edward (‘Harry’) (1891–1972), politician, was born in Dublin 21 February 1891, eighth of ten children of George Colley (d. 1905), gas-fitter, and Jane Colley (née Carroll; d. 1937). The family lived at 17 St Kevin's Rd, Portobello, Dublin, and later at Mount Pleasant Square, Ranelagh, Dublin. Educated at CBS Synge St., Colley worked for Dublin corporation as a clerical officer (1909–22) and rate collector (1922–56).
He joined the Irish Volunteers (1913), serving in the GPO garrison during the 1916 rising; British troops, believing him dead, used his body as a sandbag on their Gloucester St. barricade. Imprisoned at Frongoch, he was released in December 1916 and became second-in-command to Oscar Traynor (qv) in F Company, 2nd Battalion, Dublin Brigade IRA, and subsequently adjutant (1920–23). Colley was prominent in the attack on the Custom House (25 May 1921), was on active service right up to the truce, and was again seriously injured. Opposed to the Anglo Irish treaty, he was active in the civil war at the Four Courts, Dublin, and was interned at Newbridge, Co. Kildare, where he went on hunger strike.
A founder member of Fianna Fáil, he was a leading member of its national executive and its organising committee; unsuccessful in Dublin North-East in the 1943 general election, he was a TD for the constituency (1944–57) until defeated by Charles J. Haughey, was then elected a senator (1957), and retired from public life in 1961. Although not an avowed socialist, he was deeply interested in the social ideas of Patrick Ruttledge (qv), Sean Moylan (qv), and Dan Breen (qv). A confidant of Seán Lemass (qv), he was a close friend of Austin Stack (qv) and Éamon de Valera (qv).
He died 18 January 1972 and was buried with full military honours in the republican plot at Glasnevin cemetery. He married (14 October 1918) Christina (d. 1974), daughter of Walter and Roseanne Nugent (née Cleary) of Dublin. They had five daughters and two sons, including George Colley (qv) TD. The family lived at Winstonville House, 62 Malahide Rd, Clontarf, Dublin.