O'Neill to take leading role NY Covid-19 fight

James O'Neill pictured with then Tanaiste Frances Fitzgerald.

By Irish Echo Staff

He's back, though not in a role he would ever have imagined - or ever wanted.

Former NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill is to take a frontline role in New York City's fight agains the Covid-19 contagion.

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Wednesday that O’Neill will be returning to the city to serve as COVID-19 Senior Advisor.

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In this role, said a release from the mayor's office, O’Neill will oversee the supply and distribution of personal protective and medical equipment within New York City hospitals as demand continues to surge due to the COVID-19 crisis.

O’Neill will create, operationalize and manage a supply inspection regime within the hospitals to ensure the rapid turnaround of new supplies and verify each hospital is pushing needed equipment to frontline health care workers. O’Neill will take on this volunteer role while continuing to serve as Senior Vice President and Head of Global Security at Visa Inc.

“Jimmy is one of the finest public servants our City has ever known,” said Mayor de Blasio.

“Jimmy will leverage his extensive management experience and knowledge of the city to ensure that our healthcare workers on the front lines have the supplies they need to save New Yorker’s lives. I’d also like to thank Visa CEO Al Kelly for allowing Jimmy to help his beloved hometown in our hour of need.”

Said O'Neill: “I want to thank Mayor de Blasio and Visa CEO Al Kelly for this opportunity to help serve this great city once again and support the heroes on the front lines of this pandemic. While the toughest days of this crisis lie ahead, New Yorkers are resilient and will get through this by coming together.”

O’Neill, whose Irish family roots are primarily in County Monaghan, is a 36-year veteran of the New York City Police Department where he served in over half of the city’s precincts and was the architect of neighborhood policing. O’Neill was appointed as the 43rd Police Commissioner of New York City by Mayor de Blasio in 2016.