Next week will be the first anniversary of our discussion on Jadotville, which was supported by all sides of the House. Of course, we recently passed the 60th anniversary of this great military event. These Irish soldiers are not just regarded as heroes in their homeland, but by a growing number of people worldwide.
I recently came across the wording of the surrender document of Commandant Patrick Quinlan at Jadotville. It is important to put it on the record of the House:
Jadotville, 17 September 1961. I Commandant Patrick Quinlan officer commanding Irish United Nations troops in Jadotville do hereby agree to the terms of surrender of Minister Munongo because – The Irish force is here in a peaceful police role and any further action would result in the loss of African and Irish lives. I also wish to state that my troops fought only in self defence having been fired on while attending mass on the morning of 13 September at 0740 hours. It is also agreed that the Irish troops will have their arms stored at the location of the Irish troops accommodation. In the absence of orders from higher authority I take the responsibility for this decision.
It is never too late to do the right thing. It is never too late to honour the men under the command of Commandant Quinlan in the way their commanding officer recommended.