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Jonathan O’Neill OBE 1963-2023

Jonathan O’Neill OBE 1963-2023

It is with great sadness that the FPA announces the death of its Managing Director, Jonathan O’Neill OBE, who has died after several years fighting illness.


As Managing Director of the FPA for 24 years, Jon was one of the most influential figures in the fire safety industry, and his passing leaves a gap that will be difficult to fill. Never one to shy away from expressing his strongly held beliefs on the importance of fire safety, Jon’s massive contribution in this field was recognised with the award of an OBE in 2017. 


Our thoughts and condolences are with his wife, Karen and their three children, Sophie, Annabel, and Tristan, as well as with the many, many friends and colleagues who will mourn him.


Howard Passey, the FPA’s Director of Operations said: “I am, as I’m sure many others will be, absolutely heartbroken and it goes without saying that this news deeply affects so many of us. Jon has fought an incredible battle against illness for so long, unflinchingly, and always had the best interests of the FPA and its staff in mind. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of one of the strongest, most well respected, and visionary leaders that the fire industry has ever had.”


Dennis Davis, Executive Officer at the Fire Sector Federation commented: “…An inspirational leader in his determination to improve fire safety…Jon was a founder of the Federation in 2012 and our Policy Director; most recently leading the initiative for a national fire strategy. He received his OBE for services to fire safety. Our deepest condolences are extended to his wife Karen, children and wider family.”


Ian Moore, CEO of the Fire Industry Association said: “…The leader and inspiration behind the Fire Protection Association (FPA), Jon received his OBE for services to fire safety. You will read more about Jon’s impressive career in the days to come I know, but the most important message from all of us in the industry is our heartfelt condolences to his wife Karen, their children and those close to him. Jon was my friend and I will miss him.”


Gerry Dunphy, FIREX Event Director, added: “…Over the years we’ve enjoyed a rich and highly rewarding partnership with the FPA team which was primarily driven by Jon, his energy, his core beliefs and the drive to improve life safety across the board…On a personal note, I’ll miss the onsite banter with Jon, he had a particular dry sense of humour and despite his role, didn’t take anything too seriously. As soon as I figured that out, we would have some highly amusing conversations. Thank you Jon for all your help and assistance over the years, you have left a very strong legacy.”


Following a conversation with Jon’s family, we hope to open a condolence book on the FPA website so that everyone who knew and respected him can leave tributes. We will also talk with his family as to how else we can celebrate Jon’s life with colleagues from across the wider industry.

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