Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Defence, John Brady TD, has welcomed the fact that the report from the independent group to review the facts of the Battle of Jadotville, and the recommendations for medals for courage put forward following the engagement, is due to be submitted in the coming days.
The group was set up under the auspices of the Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces, Admiral Mark Mellet.
The Wicklow TD said:
“Between 13 and 17 September 1961, members of “A” Company of the 35th Infantry Battalion carried out one of the most extraordinary feats of arms carried out in the history of the Defence Forces at the Battle of Jadotville, whilst engaged on a peacekeeping mission for the United Nations in the Congo.
“Outgunned and outnumbered, the Irish troops showed extraordinary courage and resilience.
“Despite this, and despite numerous recommendations for the awarding of several Military Medals for Gallantry, and the Distinguished Service Medal, the troops were condemned to ignominy by military authorities, in an atmosphere politically charged by geo-political considerations, which had nothing to do with the troops.
“Although originally scheduled for completion in March, the deadline was extended to June, it is now July, and the Minister has given assurances that he expects to receive the report in the coming days.
“I have asked that the Minister make the report public. He has agreed to my request that the recommendations from the report be debated before the Dáil goes into summer recess.
“This review offers an opportunity to right a wrong done to the individual troops, their families, and the larger family of the Defence Forces, by the military authorities of the day, and subsequent governments.
“September will mark 60 years since the battle. It represents a fitting occasion to honour the survivors alongside the memory of those who have gone before them.
“I look forward with hope, optimism and pride to the completion of the report.”