Son of Kerryman who led Jadotville soldiers welcomes independent review group

The Siege of Jadotville Special Screening, Savoy Cinema, Dublin,19th September 2016. Picture Andres Poveda / Netflix

The son of the Kerryman who led the Irish soldiers that survived the Siege of Jadotville is welcoming the setting up of an independent review group.

Minister for Defence, Simon Coveney says the issue of medals for gallantry for these men will be considered by a group of experts.

It’ll examine the entire case and report to the chief of staff of the Defence Forces and the Minister by next spring.

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.

There have been calls for medals of bravery to be awarded, as the late Colonel Quinlan had recommended them, but they weren’t approved by a Medals Board in the 1960s.

Minister for Defence Simon Coveney says he and the chief of staff of the Irish Defence Forces, Vice Admiral Mark Mellett decided the issue should be looked at by an independent group of experts.

This will include ex-military officers, a historian, and academic who will compile a report by next spring.

Eight of the men that fought in the Siege of Jadotville are still alive, including Corporal Tadhg Quinn from Abbeyfeale.

Son of the late Colonel Patrick Quinlan of Caherdaniel, retired Commandant Leo Quinlan, has been calling for the soldiers’ bravery to be recognised and believes it’ll happen this time.