Monday 27 March 2017

Notebook: A look at the week that was

Willie O'Dea of Fianna Fail Photo: Tom Burke
Willie O'Dea of Fianna Fail Photo: Tom Burke

Mary O'Rourke

Let's begin by talking about a film. I don't go to many films, but last week I went to a wonderful one, The Siege of Jadotville. So what was so wonderful about it? I'll tell you: 156 Irish soldiers from Custume Barracks, Athlone, withstood a siege at Jadotville in the Belgian Congo and, further than that, withstood 300 Katangan soldiers who had them under siege. They played a brilliant, valiant part, and came home to silence from the Army and now, after all those years, (Jadotville was in 1961), they have got their vindication and their recognition.

Fair dues to Willie O'Dea, the minister for defence in 2005 who met the deputation from those soldiers, older and wiser now, and who started the Army move to get them recognised. Two Saturdays ago in Athlone, the men were given a unit citation by the current Government.

Meanwhile, the country has been regaled with the film, The Siege of Jadotville, starring Jamie Dornan, who plays Comdt Pat Quinlan, the hero, as were the other 155 men. It's a great film; go see it on the big screen if you can. It's also on Netflix.

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