Sinn Féin spokesperson on Foreign Affairs and Defence, John Brady TD, questioned Minister for Defence Simon Coveney this week over the progress by the independent review group in its ongoing investigation into the heroic actions of Irish troops at the battle of Jadotville in 1961.
Teachta Brady said:
“I have raised the issue of securing deserved recognition for the actions of our Defence Forces at Jadotville on a number of occasions with the Minister, and am glad to again get the opportunity to receive an update on the progress by the review group on this issue.
“This review, on the back of the States failure to recognise the heroism of these troops in the past, has the opportunity in this moment to finally, in this, the year of the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Jadotville, to do right by the soldiers of the Irish Defence Forces, who fought so bravely in that engagement, some who were only 16 years of age at the time of the battle.
“Thirty-three members of A company were recommended for the Distinguished Service Medal, a further five troops from the same company were recommended for the Military Medal for Gallantry by their Commanding Officer.
“That the state is only now, 60 years later, looking to review the events of the battle, lends a sense of urgency to this project.I hope that the new deadline for the completion of the review of mid-June leaves enough time for the issuing of the report before the anniversary this year.
“There are only a handful of survivors remaining, and the state owes them the decency of bringing this to a conclusion while they are still alive, that they may see the truth of their service recognised in their country before they die.
“September of this year marks the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Jadotville, and I believe that it offers the perfect opportunity for the state to mark that occasion with a final and formal recognition of the extraordinary action of all of the Irish troops during the battle.
“Now is the time to rewrite the official narrative of the battle of Jadotville, and to acknowledge the extraordinary service and heroism of these troops.”