O'Malley, William (1853–1939), journalist and politician, was born in February 1853 at Ballyconneely, Co. Galway, the son of Michael, a farmer, and Honoria O'Malley, both of Ballyconneely, Co. Galway. He was educated at a national school in Ballyconneely and at the Galway Model School where he stayed for six months until he went to London in 1869 to study at the Hammersmith Training College for Teachers. He then moved to Liverpool (c.1871) to take up the position of teacher in Mount Carmel school. In his capacity as vice-president of the Liverpool branch of the Young Ireland Society he met his future wife, Mary O'Connor, a sister of the home rule MP T. P. O'Connor (qv), at one of the society's functions. They married in London on 16 July 1886, and had two sons and two daughters. It was through O'Connor that O'Malley started his career managing newspapers. O'Connor was a founder of the Star newspaper in 1887 and suggested O'Malley for the position of secretary. After a few months O'Malley was also made manager and remained at the paper until 1891 when he moved to Dublin to become manager of the new anti-Parnellite newspaper, the National Press, founded by T. M. Healy (qv). Six months later, after his managerial skills were often called into question, he left Dublin. Returning to London he found work at the Sun newspaper, run by his brother-in-law. It was while he was at the Sun that he started a series of unsuccessful financial ventures in newspapers beginning with his involvement with the Admiralty and Horse Guard's Gazette in which he bought a half share. Personality clashes with the other shareholders forced him to buy them out and when he sold the paper he considered himself lucky not to have made a loss. Soon afterwards he started a weekly journal called Talk which lasted for a year before it had to close because of poor sales. His next venture, a journal called Chic, also lost him a lot of money.
O'Malley's only real success in managing newspapers was his time as a director and shareholder of the Connacht Tribune, but he sold his shares in the 1920s, an act he later regretted. In 1917 he was asked to run a newspaper called Town Topics, was given one hundred shares in the paper and made managing director. However, after three years his relationship with the other shareholders ended acrimoniously. Notorious for his business failures, O'Malley was revealed in 1913 as a director of least six failed speculative companies based on the rubber and gold trade, and was widely criticised by the media because of his dubious dealings. Throughout these years he depended heavily on T. P. O'Connor's help when his business ventures went awry.
An anti-Parnellite nationalist, he was selected to stand for Galway Connemara in 1895 and won the seat, representing that constituency until 1918. He never engaged in committee work and when he spoke in the commons it was usually on the land issue. He complained of the slowness of the Congested Districts Board's land purchase schemes, and in the winter of 1917–18 campaigned against a Sinn Féin shopkeeper in Clifden who had bought land originally intended for division among smallholders. At first he opposed the proposal to give land to soldiers returning from the Great War, but later changed his mind, opposing his own party's policy in the process. He was an earnest recruiter for the British army during the war, which claimed his surviving son on 9 April 1917. Ousted from his parliamentary seat by a Sinn Féin candidate in the December 1918 general election, he busied himself by writing for British, Irish, and American periodicals.
In August 1921 he and his family moved from 12 Lennox Gardens, Dollis Hill, London, to The Grove, Athlone, where he was able to indulge his passion for fishing. In the late 1920s a bout of illness confined him to bed and it was during this time that he wrote his memoir Glancing back (1933), a bitter and self-pitying piece of work, brooding mostly on past failures.
He died 11 September 1939 on a visit to Lifford, Co. Donegal.