Minister pours cold water on proposal to recognise bravery of Siege of Jadotville survivors

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:On_duty_in_the_Congo_(4824407009).jpg#/media/File:On_duty_in_the_Congo_(4824407009).jpg via Irish Defence Forces

The Minister for Defence has poured cold water on a proposal to recognise the bravery of the soldiers who survived the Siege of Jadotville.

The A company, 35th Infantry Battalion was led by the late Colonel Patrick Quinlan of Hogs Head, Caherdaniel.

It was part of a UN peace-keeping mission in Congo in 1961, when attacked by 3,000 soldiers led by French and Belgian mercenaries, and held captive for over five weeks.

The men survived but when returned home were treated as cowards; it wasn’t until 2016 they were awarded for their actions.

There have been calls since for medals of bravery to be awarded, and a promise by the then Taoiseach Enda Kenny for this to happen has failed to materialise.

Eight of the men that fought in the Siege of Jadotville are still alive, including Corporal Tadhg Quinn from Abbeyfeale – he was recommended for the Military Medal for Gallantry, and a Distinguished Service Medal.

Son of the late Colonel Patrick Quinlan, retired Commandant Leo Quinlan, has been calling for the soldiers’ bravery to be recognised.

Galway TD Catherine Connolly recently raised the issue with Minister for Defence, Simon Coveney.

The Minister said the awarding of Military Medals for Gallantry and Distinguished Service Medals to these men was addressed in 1962 and 1965 by a Medals Board.

Following a review of the Jadotville case in 2004, it was recommended the events and soldiers be given recognition.

This included a Unit Citation, awarded in 2016 to honour the collective actions of the men of A Company – the first time a Unit Citation was awarded.

In 2017, the Government awarded The Jadotville Medal to each of the men or their families, to give full recognition of their courageous actions.

Minister Simon Coveney says it’s been previously indicated that additional documentation, information, or evidence to support the request to award additional bravery medals will be considered, but no new information has come to light.