|Boston City Councilor At-Large|
|Preceded by||Louise Day Hicks|
|Succeeded by||Michael F. Flaherty|
|President of the Boston City Council|
|Preceded by||Christopher A. Iannella|
|Succeeded by||Thomas Menino|
|Born||April 12, 1920|
|Died||December 19, 2007(aged 87)|
|Alma mater||Staley School of the Spoken Word|
Albert Leo "Dapper" O'Neil (April 12, 1920 – December 19, 2007) was an American politician who served as a socially conservative member of the Boston City Council for twenty-eight years. He served on the Boston Licensing Board and was an operative for the legendary Boston Mayor James Michael Curley.
From 1948 to 1961 O'Neil ran for office five times, three times for state representative and one apiece for City Council and School Committee, losing all five races. He then chauffeured for Massachusetts gubernatorial candidate Endicott Peabody. After Peabody was elected Governor of Massachusetts he appointed O'Neil as his patronage secretary, but his tenure in that capacity was short-lived. According to some reports, O'Neil was contacted by an aide to Massachusetts Senator Edward M. Kennedy and asked to provide a Kennedy supporter with a state job. O'Neil, not a fan of Kennedy's liberal policies, allegedly told the staffer to "go to hell." Kennedy's office demanded O'Neil's termination, which Peabody granted almost immediately. But in 1963, Peabody appointed him to the Boston Licensing Board. In 1967 O'Neil ran for mayor of Boston, finishing eighth with only 0.95% of the vote.
O'Neil was a longtime supporter of the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms; he was famous for carrying a loaded firearm with him at all times. He openly called supporters of integration "suburban liberals," and suggested they were "Communist dupes." He was fond of quoting the alleged saying of Nikita Khrushchev "We will bury you from within," reflecting his belief that integration or desegregaton was "a Communist plot against Boston." O'Neil was also an outspoken supporter of the white minority governments of South Africa and Rhodesia. At least in part because of his explicit rejection of race-based grievance and identity politics, he was much admired and praised by Boston columnist and radio talk show host Howie Carr.
In 1999, O'Neil finished fifth (behind Francis Roache, Stephen J. Murphy, Peggy Davis-Mullen, Michael F. Flaherty) in an at-large race in which the top four make the council. In a story published in The Boston Globe after O'Neil's loss, Boston historian Thomas H. O'Connor wrote, "This is the last hurrah not merely for a man but for the politicking he represents." O'Connor went on to say that O'Neil's career endured "largely through the kinds of loyalties he built up over thirty years, from people for whom he'd done favors, and they'd never forget him, and they'd talk about him to their relatives. He built a political career on a system of local patronage."
- Long, Tom; Donovan Slack; John R. Ellement (2007-12-19). ""Dapper" O'Neil is dead at 87". The Boston Globe.
- Marquard, Bryan (December 20, 2007). "'Dapper' O'Neil, champion of personal politics, dies at 87". Boston Globe. Retrieved 31 May 2012.