Call for recognition of bravery by Siege of Jadotville soldiers led by Kerryman

The son of the Kerryman who led the Irish soldiers who survived the 1961 Siege of Jadotville is calling for their bravery to be recognised.

The issue was raised at the monthly meeting of Kerry County Council by Cllr Jim Finucane, who called on the Government to award the medals which were promised by former Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

The A company, led by the late Colonel Patrick Quinlan of Hogs Head, Caherdaniel, was part of a UN peace-keeping mission in Congo when attacked by 3,000 soldiers led by French and Belgian mercenaries.

The Irish all survived, but when they returned home, the Siege of Jadotville survivors were treated as cowards.

After much campaigning, they were awarded a unit citation medal in 2017, but a promise by the then Taoiseach Enda Kenny for the men’s bravery to be honoured has failed to materialise.

Eight of the men are still alive, including Corporal Tadhg Quinn from Abbeyfeale – he’s been recommended for the Military Medal for Gallantry, and a Distinguished Service Medal.

Fine Gael Cllr Jim Finucane brought a motion to Kerry County Council’s monthly meeting, calling on the Minister for Defence and the Government to award the medals.

Speaking after the meeting, Colonel Patrick Quinlan’s son, retired Commandant Leo Quinlan said the awards would bring about a lot of healing.