Today’s ceremony at Custume Barracks, Athlone, to honour the soldiers who fought at the Siege of Jadotville rights a grievous wrong that had been ignored by successive governments, Longford/Westmeath TD, Deputy Kevin ‘Boxer’ Moran has said.
At a ceremony in Custume Barracks today, Ministerof State at the Departments of An Taoiseach and Defence Paul Kehoe presented a Presidential Unit Citation to the members of A Company to recognise the achievement of the 150 Irish soldiers, the majority of whom came from the 6th Infantry Battalion based at Custume Barracks, who fought against an estimated 3,000 enemy troops.
This is the first time that a Unit Citation has been awarded within the Irish Defence Forces. The company included 23 from Westmeath, 15 from Longford, six from Roscommon and one from Leitrim. Minister Paul Kehoe will also present a copy of these citations to each member or next of kin of the unit and wreaths will be laid in remembrance of the deceased members of the company.
“A Unit Citation is a formal honour reserved for extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy and it is a fitting recognition for the gallantry displayed by Lt Col Quinlan and his men at Jadotville,” said Deputy Moran.
“I sincerely hope that this honour will finally bring some comfort to the wives, children and grandchildren of the deceased soldiers of A Company, together with the remaining 60 veterans waiting for the right thing to be done by them after 55 years.
“Obtaining formal recognition has been an emotive issue for decades and upon entering government, I made it clear that this was a matter that I wanted resolved and could no longer be ignored,” said Deputy Moran. “I strongly felt that this was a grievous wrong by successive governments that needed to put right,” Deputy Moran concluded.
Local film goers will have the opportunity to see the Siege of Jadotville, the critically acclaimed new Irish film starring Jamie Doran, in the coming week. On Monday evening the film will be shown at 8pm. There will also be a live feed from the Q and A session at the Savoy Cinema in Dublin.
The film will also be show on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings at 6.30pm and 9pm.