He was educated at Ballymote National School and Corran College, Ballymote.
He was a Teachta Dála (Territorial Decoration) for the Sligo–North Leitrim constituency, and once served as the Minister of State for Small Business. Perry was first elected to Dáil Éireann at the 1997 general election for the constituency and retained his seat until his defeat in 2016. In June 2000, he was appointed Assistant Director of Organisation and Deputy spokesperson with special responsibility for Border Issues.
He held this post until February 2001.
Between September 2002 and October 2004 he was Vice-Chairman of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Communications and Natural Resources. He has also served as Chairman of the Dáil Public Accounts Committee.
In October 2004, he was appointed to the position as party spokesperson for the Marine, in Enda Kenny"s Front Bench. He was demoted from the Front Bench after a reshuffle following the 2007 general election.
In July 2010, he was appointed as party spokesman on Small Business.
On 10 March 2011, he was appointed as Minister of State for Small Business. In July 2012 he was the subject of some controversy over his claims for mileage expenses for official duties including a claim for 4,417 km of mileage in a month during which he only had two official appointments and another monthly mileage claim which averaged 344 km per day for every day he was in Ireland. In that latter month he was abroad for 9 days.
In September 2013, Perry confirmed that he had reached an agreement with Danske Bank, in relation to his outstanding loans.
He was dropped as a Minister of State in a reshuffle in July 2014. He was reappointed to the Public Accounts Committee in December 2014.
He lost his seat at the 2016 general election.
In 1997, he became Fine Gael spokesperson on Science, Technology, Small Business and Enterprise, and the Border Counties. In October 2015, Perry was not selected as Fine Gael candidate for the Sligo–Leitrim constituency at the 2016 general election. In December 2015, he took a High Court action against Fine Gael challenging the results of the selection convention.
On 22 December, the Fine Gael National Executive announced it was adding Perry to the Sligo–Leitrim election ticket.
He was a member of Sligo County Council from 1999 to 2004, representing the Sligo–Strandhill electoral area.