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Minister with Responsibility for Defence, Paul Kehoe, Presents “An Bonn Jadotville” the Jadotville Medal

Minister Paul Kehoe, T.D., will today present An Bonn Jadotville, the Jadotville Medal, to members of “A” Company, 35th Infantry Battalion and to the family representatives of deceased members present at the ceremony, to honour the bravery and courage of the men who took part in the Siege of Jadotville in September 1961.

Speaking in relation to the Siege of Jadotville the Minister said, “The retelling of the events at Jadotville does not and cannot reflect the incredible reality of what happened during the siege and its aftermath. It can only briefly suggest the courage you showed in your willingness to act and the bravery displayed in your every actions. Despite the overwhelming numbers opposing them, the men of ‘A’ company retained their resolve and remained unshaken during the attack.”

Speaking in relation the Veterans and the family representatives of the deceased, the Minister went on to say “I feel truly privileged to have met you and to have talked to you about your experiences and the experiences of your loved ones. It was an honour to have been able to take the decision, together with former Taoiseach Enda Kenny T.D., in June of this year, to award this medal to the members of the “A” Company.

Speaking in relation to the medal design the Minister said, “I would like to draw your attention to the words on the medal that you will soon receive. The words state “Cosaint Chalma” (Valiant Defence) and “Misneach” (Courage). These words were carefully chosen in order to pay tribute to the courageous actions of the men of “A” Company.”

Highlighting Ireland’s ongoing participation to the peace process in Congo, the Minister noted that “The United Nations Operation in Congo was the first peacekeeping mission in which significant numbers of Irish soldiers took part. That tradition started by the members of A company has carried on with honour to this today. Indeed, there are members of the Irish Defence Forces currently in the United Nations Observer Mission in the Congo overseeing the peace process there.”

END

Note for the Editors


On the 13th June this year the Minister, together with former Taoiseach, Enda Kenny, T.D announced that a specially commissioned medal would be procured to give full and due recognition in honour of the courageous actions of the men during the siege at Jadotville in September 1961 during the UN peacekeeping operation in the Congo.

The medal presentation ceremony will take place today in Custume Barracks in Athlone. This location is considered the spiritual home of ‘A’ Company and it is from here that “A” Company assembled in advance of their fateful deployment to the Congo.

The siege of Jadotville was an event that occurred during Ireland’s peacekeeping mission in the Congo in September 1961. ‘A’ Company of the 35th Infantry Battalion took responsibility for the UN post at Jadotville on the 3rd of September. On the 9th of September they were surrounded by a large force of Katangese Gendarmerie and early on the morning of the 13th September the Company came under attack. Over the coming days until 17th September they endured almost continuous attacks from ground and air.

Despite their courageous resistance and the sustained efforts of 35th Infantry Battalion HQ to provide assistance, ‘A’ Company was taken into captivity on 17th September. By this time ‘A’ Company had no water and several men had been wounded. ‘A’ Company remained in captivity until finally released on 25th October 1961. The United Nations Operation in Congo was the first peacekeeping mission in which significant numbers of Irish soldiers took part. A total of 6,000 Irish soldiers served in the Congo from 1960 until 1964.





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