John M. Kelly
|Minister for Trade, Commerce and Tourism|
30 June 1981 - 9 March 1982
|Minister for Foreign Affairs|
30 June 1981 - 21 October 1981
|Brian Lenihan Snr|
|17th Attorney General of Ireland|
20 May 1977 - 5 July 1977
|Anthony J. Hederman|
|Government Chief Whip|
14 March 1973 - 5 July 1977
June 1977 - June 1989
February 1973 - June 1977
13 November 1969 - 26 February 1973
|Constituency||Cultural and Educational Panel|
John Maurice Kelly
31 August 1931
Artane, Dublin, Ireland
|Died||24 January 1991 (aged 59)|
Merrion Road, Dublin, Ireland
|Political party||Fine Gael|
(m. 1960; d. 2012)
John Maurice Kelly (31 August 1931 - 24 January 1991) was an Irish Fine Gael politician who served as Minister for Trade, Commerce and Tourism from 1981 to 1982, acting Minister for Foreign Affairs from June 1981 to October 1981, Attorney General from May 1977 to July 1977 and Government Chief Whip from 1973 to 1977. He served as a Teachta Dála (TD) for the Dublin South-Central from 1973 to 1977 and for Dublin South from 1977 to 1989. He was a Senator for the Cultural and Educational Panel from 1969 to 1973.
He attended University College Dublin between 1949 and 1954, and carried out postgraduate studies in the Heidelberg University, Germany, from 1954 to 1956. His thesis was published in 1957 as "Princeps Iudex".
He was a distinguished academic, serving for many years as Professor of Constitutional law, Roman law and Jurisprudence in University College Dublin. He was author of the standard work on the Constitution of Ireland; though published after Kelly's death, the third and later editions of this work still bear his name in honour of the original book. He was instrumental in the revival of the Irish law journal The Irish Jurist in the 1960s.
He first stood for election at the 1969 general election as a Fine Gael candidate in the Dublin South-Central constituency. He was not elected to Dáil Éireann on that occasion, but was subsequently elected to Seanad Éireann as a Senator for the Cultural and Educational Panel. He was first elected to Dáil Éireann on his second attempt at the 1973 general election as a Fine Gael TD. He then won election from Dublin County South in 1977, before moving to the Dublin South constituency until his retirement from politics at the 1989 general election. He served in the Government of Liam Cosgrave (1973-77) as Parliamentary Secretary to the Taoiseach and while keeping that post also served as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence until May 1977, at which point he became Attorney General of Ireland, succeeding Declan Costello upon the latter's appointment to the High Court.
He served in Garret FitzGerald's first cabinet from 1981 until 1982 as Minister for Trade, Commerce and Tourism. Kelly was also appointed as acting Minister for Foreign Affairs, pending the appointment of James Dooge, who was to be appointed to the Seanad, and as a Minister in October 1981.
Kelly declined appointment to FitzGerald's second government (1982-87). Kelly felt that Irish politics should be aligned more on European ideological lines, and he promoted closer alignment with Fianna Fáil and the end of coalition with the Labour Party. He did not seek re-election to the Dáil at the 1989 general election.
Kelly died on 24 January 1991, aged 59, after suffering a heart attack.
Since 1994, University College Dublin has hosted an annual John M. Kelly Memorial Lecture on law, with international legal experts asked to deliver papers. The lectures to date include:
| Government Chief Whip
| Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Defence|
Oliver J. Flanagan
| Parliamentary Secretary to Minister for Defence|
| Minister for Foreign Affairs
| Minister for Industry, Commerce and Tourism
Renamed Minister for Trade, Commerce and Tourism in August 1981
| Attorney General of Ireland
Anthony J. Hederman