Minister Simon Coveney T.D. unveils a monument dedicated to families of Jadotville veterans at Custume Barracks, Athlone
The Minister for Defence, Mr Simon Coveney, T.D. today (9 December) unveiled a monument dedicated to the families of the personnel of A Company, 35th Infantry Battalion who took part in the Siege of Jadotville in September 1961.
Speaking at the ceremony in Athlone, Minister Coveney noted that the experiences at Jadotville and the aftermath had a tangible and lasting effect not only on those returning home, but also on their families. The Minister said: “The monument will stand here in Custume Barracks as a perpetual acknowledgement and recognition of the roles of the families, including all of you who have gathered here today.”
The Minister welcomed the surviving members of A Company, and took a moment to remember the members of A Company who have passed away. He extended a special welcome to the family members of A Company in whose honour the monument was being unveiled.
The monument, which bears the inscription “Honouring the unwavering support of the families of personnel of A Company 35 Infantry Battalion ONUC”, was commissioned on the recommendation of the Independent Review Group established to examine the events at Jadotville in 1961, in recognition of the role of parents, wives and families residing in Athlone, Galway, Mullingar and elsewhere during the Battle of Jadotville and the subsequent period in captivity.
Notes to the Editor:
- The siege of Jadotville was a prominent event that occurred during Ireland's peacekeeping mission in the Congo in September 1961. "A" Company, 35th Infantry Battalion took responsibility for the UN post at Jadotville on 3rd September 1961.
- On the 9th September, a large force of Katangese Gendarmerie surrounded them and early on the morning of the 13th September "A" Company came under attack. From the 13th to the 17th September they endured almost continuous attack. They were taken into captivity on the 17th September and remained in captivity until finally released on the 25th October 1961.
- An Independent Review Group of external experts was established to retrospectively examine the events of Jadotville in September 1961, in the context of the awarding of medals and the possible implications for the integrity of the awarding of medals system.
- The report is available at the following link: https://www.military.ie/en/public-information/publications/independent-review-group-jadotville/independent-review-group-report.pdf
- The Minister has acknowledged the work of the Independent Review Group on Jadotville, whose Report was dedicated to the 156 Irishmen who fought in the Battle of Jadotville and to their wives, children and families who supported them throughout.