Ray Burke

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Raphael Patrick "Ray" Burke[1] (born 30 September 1943 in Dublin, Ireland) is an Irish former Fianna Fáil politician. He is a former Teachta Dála and government minister who was convicted and jailed on charges arising from political corruption in office. Burke was also highly influential in decisions made by Dublin Corporation, at local government level in Dublin city.


Early life and career

Burke was born in Dublin, Ireland and educated at O'Connell Schools before becoming an auctioneer. Burke's political career commenced when he was elected to Dublin County Council in 1967. He was Chairman of the Council between 1985 and 1987.

He was elected to Dáil Éireann in the 1973 general election for the Dublin County North constituency, succeeding his father Patrick J. Burke, who had held the seat for 29 years. In this seat, Ray Burke represented the same constituency and its successor Dublin North until his resignation almost twenty-five years later.

After Fianna Fáil's landslide victory at the 1977 general election, Burke was appointed Minister of State at the Department of Industry and Commerce. He supported George Colley for Taoiseach in the Fianna Fáil leadership contest of 1979, but after Colley's opponent Charles Haughey won out, Haughey still retained Burke in his government position. Burke was subsequently a staunch and vocal defender of Haughey during a number of internal heaves against the latter's leadership of the party. In October 1980 Burke was promoted to Minister for the Environment, a position he held until June 1981 and again in the short-lived Fianna Fáil government of 1982. After Fianna Fáil returned to power at the 1987 general election, Burke served as Minister for Energy until 1988, when he was appointed Minister for Industry and Commerce and Communications.

Following the formation of the Fianna FáilProgressive Democrats Coalition in 1989 he became Minister for Justice and Minister for Communications. When Albert Reynolds came to power in 1992, he did not re-appoint Burke to the Cabinet. Fianna Fáil was back in power at the 1997 general election and Burke was appointed Minister for Foreign Affairs by new Taoiseach Bertie Ahern.

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