Richard Burke (politician)

Richard Burke (politician)

Richard (Dick) Burke (born 29 March 1932) was a senior Irish Fine Gael politician and a European Commissioner.

Dick Burke was born in New York in the United States in 1932. He was raised in Tipperary and educated at the Christian Brothers School, Thurles, University College Dublin (UCD) and King's Inns. He worked as a teacher before embarking on a political career. His first political involvement was with the Christian Democrat Party founded by Seán Loftus. However, he soon became a member of Fine Gael, becoming a member of Dublin County Council in 1967. Two years later in 1969 he was elected to Dáil Éireann for the first time, becoming a TD for Dublin County. He was immediately appointed Chief Whip by party leader Liam Cosgrave. Dick is married to Mary and has 5 children, Mary, David, Audrey, Richard and Avila.

In 1973 a new Fine Gael-Labour coalition government was formed and Burke was appointed Minister for Education. During that period in power he joined the Taoiseach, Liam Cosgrave, in voting against the government's own Contraceptives Bill. In 1976 he won an internal cabinet battle with Justin Keating for the nomination as Ireland’s EC Commissioner. In that position he succeeded Dr. Patrick Hillery who returned to become President of Ireland.

On the completion of his four-year term as Commissioner, Burke was invited back into Fine Gael by Garret FitzGerald and successfully contested the 1981 General Election. However, Burke was not appointed to the cabinet, in spite of having a wealth of experience. He retained his seat in the general election which followed in 1982, however, Fine Gael were out of office. The new Taoiseach, Charles Haughey, offered to reappoint Burke to the EC Commission in the hope of winning the subsequent by-election and creating a more comfortable majority for the government. Burke first accepted, then turned it down, and finally agreed to take the post again. However, the by-election went against the government with a Fine Gael candidate taking the seat. Following his return to Ireland in 1984, Burke retired from politics.

title=Richard Burke

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