PQ: Minister satisfied men of Siege of Jadotville fully honoured by Irish Government
- Updated: 21st November 2016
QUESTION NO: 718
To ask the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence if he has made representations to President Michael D. Higgins seeking the formal invitation and recognition of the members of A Company, 35th Battalion (UN Service) of the Army ONUC Contingent renowned for its struggle during the siege of Jadotville during the United Nations intervention in the Katanga conflict in Congo in 1961; and if he will make a statement on the matter.
– DEPUTY THOMAS PRINGLE .
FOR WRITTEN ANSWER ON TUESDAY, 15TH NOVEMBER, 2016
Minister with Responsibility for Defence (Mr. Paul Kehoe T.D.);
On the occasion of the 55th anniversary of the Siege of Jadotville, I decided to issue a Unit Citation to honour the collective actions and bravery of the men of “A” Company, 35th Infantry Battallion. My Department organised and hosted a ceremony in Custume Barracks, Athlone on Saturday 17 th September 2016 at which a Unit Citation was presented to the Company in recognition of their collective heroism and professional performance during the Siege of Jadotville whilst cut-off from support and reinforcements.
During the ceremony a copy of the Citation was presented to each member of the Unit or next-of-kin in the case of deceased members. This was the first time a Unit Citation was awarded within the Defence Forces and I was delighted to be able to formally recognize the collective bravery and actions of the men of “A” Company, 35th Infantry Battallion. In addition, a specially commissioned insignia, which is currently being procured, will be provided to the members and the next of kin of deceased members of “A” company.
These recent steps to honour and recognise the bravery of those who served with “A” Company, 35th Infantry battalion build upon previous initiatives taken by former Minsters for Defence as follows:
A. In November 2005, a plaque was unveiled in Custume Barracks Athlone to commemorate the events at Jadotville and the very significant contribution of “A” Company and of the 35th Battalion, as a whole, to the UN Peace Support Mission in the Congo.
B. There was a presentation of scrolls in 2006.
C. Portraits of Lt Col McNamee (35th Battalion Commander) and Comdt Quinlan (Company Commander “A” Company) were commissioned. On the 23rd February 2007 these portraits were unveiled at the Military College and now hang in the Congo Room in the United Nations Training School in the Curragh.
D. In July of 2010 the 50th anniversary of the first deployment to the Congo was commemorated in a highly publicised and well attended event in Casement Aerodrome, Baldonnel. A Congo photographic book was also produced for the occasion; a section of which was dedicated to the events at Jadotville in 1961.
E. A nominal roll of “A” Company, printed in copper, has been affixed to the monument in Costume Barracks and was unveiled as part of the 50th Anniversary of the Jadotville affair in September 2011.
I I am satisfied that the events and happenings to date properly honour the bravery of the men of “A” Company. satisfied that the e