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Irish soldiers to finally be awarded medals for Siege of Jadotville - 55 years on

The decision was taken at Enda Kenny’s last cabinet meeting today.

IRISH SOLDIERS FROM the Siege of Jadotville will finally receive bravery medals – almost 56 years after they fought.

The decision was taken at Enda Kenny’s last cabinet meeting today.

In 1961 when the United Nations intervened in the Katanga conflict in the African Congo, a contingent of 155 Irish troops were sent to the Congo on the peacekeeping mission. A Company were sent into Jadotville after a Swedish company pulled out.

Their battle was effectively swept under the carpet and the medals board at the time denied them the honour of being awarded medals.

The Siege of Jadotville PA Wire / PA Images PA Wire / PA Images / PA Images

Today’s decision was made after fifth year pupils at Galway Community College lobbied politicians.

Taoiseach Enda Kenny 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.

‘Just teenagers’ 

While Commandant Pat Quinlan was 42, the bulk of the troops were just teenagers. Photos of the men before the siege show them with regulation blue helmets askew and rifles in their hands.

Tadhg Quinn was 19 when he fought at Jadotville, he told that they didn’t have enough food, ammunition or water for the siege. At one stage, they were sent jerry cans of water – but they were petrol cans that hadn’t even been cleaned out.

The also spent months in captivity after the siege and were only allowed one spoon of liquid each.

download Wikipedia Wikipedia

Last year The Siege of Jadotville was released in cinemas before moving to Netflix.

Northern Irish actor Jamie Dornan played Commandant Pat Quinlan.

Netflix UK & Ireland / YouTube

Read: “It should never have happened”: Irish soldiers’ forgotten battle told in Siege of Jadotville>

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