Jadotville Challenge Launch
Óglaigh Náisiúnta na hÉireann (O.N.E) celebrate bravery of Jadotville Tigers 60 years on.
Volunteers to cover 24,000km over 5 days to raise funds for Homeless Veterans
Dublin, Ireland: Hundreds of volunteers will cycle, walk or run a combined distance of 24,000km over 5 days from 29th June to the 3rd July 2021 in aid of homeless veterans of the Defence Forces. Organised by Óglaigh Náisiúnta na hÉireann, the Organisation of National Ex-Service Personnel (ONE), the Jadotville Challenge is being organised to mark the 60th anniversary of the Jadotville Siege and to raise funds for the charity.
The Siege of Jadotville, made famous by a Netflix film, occurred in September 1961 when a contingent of Irish troops came under attack by Katangese forces during a peacekeeping mission in the town of Jadotville in the Congo. Irish soldiers withstood the attack for 5 days but were ultimately taken captive after running out of water and ammunition. They were subsequently kept hostage for 34 days before finally being released.
Set over 5 days to reflect on the 5 days Irish soldiers fought and resisted the Katangese forces, the challenge aims to raise funds for ONE’s homeless services and to honour the bravery the Jadotville Tigers displayed during the siege. This went unrecognised until a high profile campaign led by Paul Clarke, John Gorman, and Dan O’Connell resulted in the recognition of the bravery of Commandant Pat Quinlan and the soldiers of A Company 35th Infantry Battalion. The veterans of Jadotville were awarded medals honouring their bravery and courage in 2017 for their extraordinary service to peacekeeping and to Ireland in what was an incredibly complex, and difficult conflict. The inscription on the medal, An Bonn Jadotville, is ‘cosaint chalma’ (which means “valiant defence”) and ‘misneach’ (which means ‘courage’).
Starting in Athlone, the volunteers in the Virtual Challenge will complete a total distance of 24,000km which represents a round trip from Athlone to Jadotville. Awards and prizes are also given to participants at the end of the 5 day challenge.
Speaking at the launch of the Jadotville Challenge, Ollie O’Connor, CEO of ONE said:
“ONE supports Irish veterans through its three homes for homeless veterans in Dublin, Letterkenny and Athlone, with a fourth under development in Cobh. We also have 37 Branches and 15 Veteran Support Centres nationwide. We warmly welcome the support from the Jadotville Challenge. I wish to thank the committee for their hard work and everybody who will honour the memory of those who took part in the battle by participating in the Challenge. Many of our usual fundraising events were cancelled due to COVID 19 and your support for this initiative is deeply appreciated”.