Burton is a native of the Stoneybatter area of Dublin. She was adopted by the Burton's as a baby and brought up in Inchicore. Her adoptive father worked in the local iron foundry.She was educated at St Gabriel's NS, Cowper St and St Joseph Sisters of Charity Secondary School, Stanhope Street and University College Dublin (UCD) where she graduated with a degree in Commerce. She is also a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants. She has worked as a lecturer in Accountancy in the Dublin Institute of Technology and the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.