Burke lost his seat for the second time at the 1989 general election but regained it at the 1992 general election. He then retained his seat until retiring aged 74 at the 2002 general election. At that time, he and Harry Blaney shared the distinction of being the oldest serving TDs.
He was educated at Christian Brothers College, Cork, and University College Cork. He was Lord Mayor of Cork from 1984 to 1985.
Burke died on 21 August 2005, aged 77.
His sister, Mary Woods, is an elected public representative for Fine Gael on the Town Council for Midleton, County Cork since 1985. His uncle Tadhg Manley was a Fine Gael TD from 1954 to 1961. He was a cousin of Fianna Fáil TD Billy Kelleher.