About Joan

Joan Burton has served the citizens of Dublin West for many years as a County Councillor, TD, Minister and Tanaiste.

She is known for her common-sense leadership, hard work and dedication to improving the lives of families, workers and communities.

She has focused her whole career – both in elected office and as a working professional – on making sure that everyone in Dublin West  has the same opportunity to make a better life for themselves and their families.

She has worked tirelessly to make all areas of Dublin West great places to live, to work or study, to raise a family or develop a business.

Her particular priority has been to highlight Dublin West as an attractive location for international job creating investment with all the necessary housing, educational, transport and cultural facilities associated with a modern economy.

The educational needs of a growing community have been one of Joan’s continuing preoccupations as she campaigns week in week out to secure funding for schools, primary and secondary, in every part of Dublin West.

She has shown a strong commitment to investing in science and technology so Ireland can secure stronger growth in modern manufacturing and services, small business start-ups and an innovative economy that is built to last and ready to offer good well paid jobs for our young college graduates.

Dublin West is blessed with many superb environmental amenities, the rivers, canals, The Phoenix Park and many other public sporting and leisure facilities.

Joan has been active throughout her entire political career in campaigns to protect and improve those amenities by resisting planning corruption and promoting high quality planning standards for all developments.

Joan has been the first woman to achieve high positions in various parts of Irish public life.

She was among the first women in Ireland to qualify as a chartered accountant.

She became the first woman to be elected as a TD in the Dublin West constituency.

She became the first woman to lead the Labour Party.

Personal Life:

Joan was born in Carlow and was placed for adoption at a very early age in Dublin.

Her adoptive parents John and Bridie Burton then lived in Rialto and later moved to an artisan cottage in Arklow St, Stonybatter on Dublin’s Northside .

Her father worked as a welder in CIE’s famous Inchicore Works while her mother worked in Batchelor’s canning factory in Cabra.

She first went St Gabriel’s national school and later to Stanhope St Convent in Stonybatter where she remained till her Leaving Certificate.

She was the first from her school to go to University after winning a scholarship to UCD where she studied Commerce. During her time in UCD she worked in various part time jobs including as a checkout assistant in Dunnes Stores Georges St.

After college she commenced training to be a chartered accountant. When she qualified for that profession she specialised in financial auditing gaining experience and skills that would serve her well in later years as a leading spokesperson on Taxation and Finance in the Dail and as a Minister.

She took part in the audits of many major Irish industrial companies, banks and public bodies. This experience led to her appointment as a Lecturer (later Senior Lecturer) in Accounting at the Dublin Institute of Technology, a position she held for 20 years.

During that time also she went to work for 3 years in Africa at the University of Dar Es Salaam Tanzania as part of Ireland’s International Aid programme. That involvement served her well later when she became Minister for Overseas Aid in 1995 and was also a factor in her contribution to the fight against the racist Apartheid regime in South Africa as Secretary of the Irish Anti- Apartheid Movement.

Joan met Pat Carroll, her husband of over 40 years through her early involvement with the Labour Party. They have one adult daughter Aoife who is a barrister in Dublin.

Joan is a keen gardener and loves to ramble in the great outdoors of County Dublin and Wicklow. She has a particular interest in Art and enjoys going to the theatre and cinema.

Recently, Joan reflected on her life experiences and the impact they have had on the decisions she makes as a TD and national political leader.

“I know the public support I got through scholarships for both secondary school and university made all the difference for me. That was equally true for my husband.

I see every day the value of high quality health care to my own extended family and my neighbours. I know the importance of social security to young and old. I value the protection we get from our Gardai in our communities.

I work to protect and improve these services. I view our nation’s budget through the prism of these services. They are what guides me as I make political decisions.  

I work in the Dail to influence the choices Governments make.  I do not believe government can solve every problem but political decisions do make a mighty difference. I want Ireland to be a nation that will always stand with families like mine and invest in our people, our communities, our future.”

Leinster House Visits

I am always happy to assist local community groups and schools to visit Leinster House and participate in a very interesting guided tour. Please contact Elaine at my office on 01-6184006 to make arrangements.