Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Defence, Jack Chambers TD has said the ongoing refusal to award military medals to 29 veterans who served with extraordinary bravery during the Siege of Jadotville in September, 1961 demonstrates sheer ignorance of their service to the State.
The Dublin West TD was speaking in the Dáil this week when he raised the matter directly with the Minister for Defence.
“It’s been almost 60 years since some 150 Irish UN Army troops were caught up in the Siege of Jadotville. It’s astonishing but not surprising given the leadership shown over the course of those days in captivity, that there wasn’t a single Irish fatality.
“A number of the families of veterans both still alive and who have passed away in recent years, have been in touch with me to voice their frustration regarding the protocols in place governing the awarding of military medals.
“In my view there is no reasonable explanation as to why progress cannot be made on what has been recommended by senior staff in the Defence Forces.
“Jadotville was a remarkable turn of events that could have ended in fair worse fate had those gallant Irishmen not been so courageous. That must be honoured.
“The ongoing refusal to award military medals around Jadotville is not only an insult but it shows a very clear lack of appreciation or understanding of these men’s service. It’s shameful that those who fought for the UN in Jadotville of other nationalities were honoured in their country but Ireland continues to shun some of its most loyal.
“I have no intention of letting this matter lie and will continue to press for these medals to be awarded. This story of heroism cannot be forgotten,” he concluded.