Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD, together with Minister with Responsibility for Defence Paul Kehoe TD, Honour the Courageous Actions of Irish Soldiers at the Battle of Jadotville in September 1961 with the Award of a Medal

The Taoiseach Enda Kenny TD, together with Minister with Responsibility for Defence, Paul Kehoe TD, have today decided to award a medal to the men of “A” Company, 35th Infantry Battalion and the next of kin of deceased members, to give full and due recognition in honour of their courageous actions at the Battle of Jadotville in September 1961.

Speaking of the decision, the Taoiseach said “I am very pleased to announce this decision to award medals to the men of “A” Company.  This fully recognises their bravery and courage during the unique circumstances of the Siege of Jadotville.   The UN peacekeeping operation in the Congo was the first time the UN deployed a significant military force and it was also one of Ireland’s earliest UN peacekeeping operations.  I want to take the opportunity to also recall the contribution of all the members of the Defence Forces who served over the course of this Mission.”

Minister Kehoe said “The Siege of Jadotville is burned into the memory of so many Irish people who followed the events through the newspapers of the time.  One of the first decisions which I made on my appointment to Office was to honour the men of “A” Company by presenting a Unit Citation in recognition of their collective actions at the Siege.  The decision taken today to also honour these men with a medal is an exceptional step which builds upon last year’s ceremony and gives full recognition to their performance at the Siege.”
Minister Kehoe added “I would also like to commend the men and women of our Defence Forces who are currently deployed in many missions in the cause of peace.  Their continued participation in United Nations missions illustrates the very positive difference that small countries, like Ireland, can make in the world’s trouble spots.  Their dedication and the sacrifices which they are making, together with that of their families, is always to the forefront of my mind.”
The Department of Defence and the Military Authorities will work together to make the arrangements for the awarding of these medals.  Given the process required, this will take some time.