Joan Burton is the Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection, and Leader of the Labour Party.
As Tanaiste and Labour Leader, her focus is on delivering economic and social recovery, to ensure every citizen and every community benefits from renewed prosperity.
Secure and fairly paid employment is central to this vision, which is why, as Minister, she has driven transformation of the Department of Social Protection from the passive benefits provider of old to an active and engaged public employment service.
Under this transformation, the Department continues to deliver a strong and responsive safety net for vulnerable groups, with a particular emphasis on pensioners, carers and people with disabilities, but now actively engages with jobseekers to help them back to work, training or education.
Since the Tánaiste has come to office, unemployment has fallen by more than a third from its crisis peak, and Ireland is well on the way to achieving full employment by 2018. In tandem with that, as Labour Party Leader, she has ensured the delivery of a range of measures to protect and enhance workers’ rights. Under her leadership, Labour continues to lead the way for progressive change in Ireland, paving the way for marriage equality to be put to a referendum which the people approved in May 2015.
A chartered accountant by profession, Joan represents the Dublin West constituency, and was first elected the Dáil in 1992. She has served in a number of ministerial roles. She was the Labour Party’s spokesperson on Finance from 2002 to 2011, and opposed the bank guarantee in 2008, realising the catastrophic damage it would do to the Irish economy. She was appointed Minister for Social Protection in 2011, and nominated Tanaiste in July 2013.
Joan is married to Pat Carroll, and they have one daughter Aoife, a barrister.