Siege of Jadotville soldiers to be awarded medals

Enda Kenny says the medal "fully recognises their bravery and courage"

Siege of Jadotville soldiers to be awarded medals

Image: RollingNews.ie

The Irish soldiers who participated in the Siege of Jadotville will be awarded medals.

The surviving men of “A” Company, 35th Infantry Battalion will each receive a medal, as will the next of kin of deceased members.

The siege happened after a group of Irish UN peacekeepers came under attack in the Congo on 13th September 1961. They managed to defend their post against air and ground attacks for four days.

Five of the Irish troops were injured during the siege, although all survived the battle.

It is estimated around 300 of the Katangese Gendarmerie attackers were killed, and hundreds more injured.

The soldiers were eventually captured on 17th September. They were released more than a month later.

The awarding of medals comes less than a year after the Irish soldiers were commemorated at a special ceremony in Athlone.

In a statement, the outgoing 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."

Junior Defence Minister Paul Kehoe added: “The Siege of Jadotville is burned into the memory of so many Irish people who followed the events through the newspapers of the time.

"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."

It comes after defence officials were ordered to review the earlier refusal to award medals to the soldiers.

The siege was recently brought to public attention again after Netflix released a feature film about the attack.