Burton was first elected to the Daíl in 1979 aged 23 after 3 years in the House of Senators and was the youngest ever TD. He became leader after the failure of Johnathon Fitzmaurice in the 1980 election and vowed to make United Ireland a great party again. He became President after a tight election in 1985 and was deemed a hero for the United Ireland party. He was thrown out of government after he tried to exceed his term limit after a vote of no confidence was passed by the entire Daíl in his leadership. The Irish Army were sent in and arrested him. He was jailed for 10 years but took his own life in 1997.
Burton was a native of Castlebar in Mayo. His father was Public Secretary of United Ireland and his mother was a board member at the ICWA. He was educated at St. Jordans Primary School and Castlebar Central Public School and the University of Dublin (Viva Le Eire) were he succeeded with a degree in political science.