Independent Review Group – Jadotville – Defence Forces (military.ie)
Minister Coveney welcomes the publication of the Report by the Independent Review Group – Jadotville
The Minister for Defence, Simon Coveney, T.D., has today 15 July 2021, welcomed the publication of the report prepared by the Independent Review Group (IRG) on Jadotville.
Minister Coveney on receipt of the report stated “I would personally like to take this opportunity to acknowledge and sincerely thank all those that engaged with the Review Group, in particular I would like to pay tribute to the 156 Irishmen who fought so valiantly at the Battle of Jadotville in 1961 and to their families who supported them throughout and in the years since”.
The substantial report (of over 500 pages) makes a number of recommendations. In relation to the possible awards of medals, the IRG, having identified primary source evidence, recommends that Comdt. Pat Quinlan, Company Commander, ‘A’ Company, should be considered for a posthumous award of the Distinguished Service Medal. The Minister intends to establish a military Medals Board to consider this recommendation without delay.
The IRG also considered all previous recommendations for military medals with respect to the events at Jadotville. Based on the research conducted during this review, the IRG is strongly of the view that there is no merit to the reopening the recommendations of the 1961, 1962 and 1965 Medals Boards.
The report highlights a level of misunderstanding in relation to the particular recommendations made for consideration of an award, either for meritorious promotions or for military medals. Minister Coveney noted that “Through the comprehensive research conducted by the review group these misunderstandings are addressed and the report sets out clearly the factual position in relation to those recommendations made nearly sixty years ago”.
With regard to the other recommendations included in the report, it is the case that some of these are outside the Terms of Reference of the review, nonetheless all will be considered in due course.
The deeply unsettling aftermath of Jadotville is detailed in the report as is the lack of personal welfare supports afforded to the men following events at Jadotville, their period in captivity and upon their return home. The Minister, will this evening address the Seanad and will formally offer his apologies to the men of ‘A’ Company, 35th Battalion and their families, in this regard.
The Chief of Staff of the Defence Forces, Vice Admiral Mark Mellett, concluded: “The veterans of A’ Coy, 35 Infantry Battalion and their actions are the embodiment of our Defence Forces’ Values of Respect, Loyalty, Selflessness, Physical Courage, Moral Courage and Integrity. It is a matter of much regret to me that the values which we hold so dear, were not evident in the manner in which Óglaigh na hÉireann failed to embrace the veterans of the Battle of Jadotville on their return from service in the Congo. I firmly believe the Defence Forces of today has institutionalised values and services that, had they existed in the 1960s, could have provided support to the veterans of ‘A’ Coy and brought their unjust treatment by some into open discourse. On behalf of Óglaigh na hÉireann I would like to apologise to the veterans of ‘A’ Coy, 35 Infantry Battalion and their families. I have full confidence that Óglaigh na hÉireann has learned valuable lessons from this experience and trust it will never be repeated.”
The link to the report is available here .