Richard "Dick" Burke (29 March 1932 – 15 March 2016) was a former Irish Fine Gael politician and European Commissioner.
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 Teachta Dála (TD) for Dublin County South. He was immediately appointed Chief Whip by party leader Liam Cosgrave.
In 1973 a new Fine Gael—Labour Party 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 European Commissioner. In that position he succeeded Patrick Hillery who returned to become President of Ireland.
Burke did not contest the 1977 general election but on the completion of his four-year term as Commissioner, Burke accepted an invitation to stand at the 1981 general election for Fine Gael on returning to Ireland from Harvard University after his fellowship year at Leverett House from 1980—1981. He was elected for Dublin West.
However, Burke was not appointed to the short-lived cabinet. He retained his seat at the general election which followed in February 1982, but Fine Gael was out of office. The government's short-lived cabinet, in the absence of suitable and available members of their own party, nominated Burke for acceptance by the Council of Ministers as commissioner for the second time where his seniority resulted in his nomination as Vice-President of the Commission. Burke became President and chief executive officer of the Stichting Canon Foundation in Europe until his retirement in 1998.
Burke died on 15 March 2016 and was survived by his wife Mary and five of his six children. He was predeceased by his son Joseph.