Bartholomew O'Keeffe, known to the public and friends as "Batt," was born in 1945 on 2 April.
Born in Mallow in the county of Cork, being educated in St. Brendan's Killarney, Co. Kerry, and then UCC, (University College Cork,) where he received a Bachelor of Arts. He was first a lecturer in the Cork Institute of Technology, and then decided to become involved in politics, though is a noted sportsman - holding three Munster G.A.A medals with Cork.
He is married to Mary Murphy with four children - a son and three daughters.
He was first elected to Cork County Council in 1985, at the age of 40, being then elected in 1987 to the 25th Dáil Éireann as a T. D or Teachta Dála. He subsequently lost his seat in 1989 to Mícheal Martin following the dissolution of the Dáil. He was then elected to the Senate or Séanad in the same year taking his seat as Seanadóir. He was then re-elected to the Dáil in 1992, and has kept his seat ever since.
Upon taking over the reigns of power from his successor and mentor, Bertie Ahern, Brian Cowen (Taoiseach of Ireland 2008 - 2011) reshuffled the positions of his ministers. Batt O' Keefe was then promoted to one of the top positions in the Cabinet as Minister for Education and Science, and later moved to become Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation. He decided not to run in the election for the 31st Dáil, retiring from politics.