Monday 19 February 2018

Society deserves credit for effort to honour Terry

The credit for honouring Terry McMahon in a ceremony this Saturday goes to Balbriggan and District Historical Society who decided the town should pay homage to this local hero and put right a 50-year-old wrong that had been done to him and his colleagues when the powers that be in Ireland decided to sweep the Siege of Jadotville under the national carpet.

The idea to unveil a plaque in the centre of town for Terry, started with a conversation between Terry's brother, Anthony and historical society member and former local councillor, May McKeon.

Anthony explained: 'I had been talking to May the previous summer about Terry and what had happened and after that she saw the film and really got interested in the story.

'So she wrote me this lovely letter and asked me if it would be ok if the town did something for Terry. I said the family would be very, very pleased with anything that could be done to honour Terry.'

The McMahon family are spread across foreign shores but never lost their connection with Balbriggan. Anthony loves the town and returns to Balbriggan every summer and even bought a house on Church Street 20 years ago that he hopes will stay in the family for generations to come.

Terry felt the same way about the place and even had the nickname of 'Balbriggan' in the army so it's particularly fitting that his name will now adorn George's Square, a stone's throw from where the family was formed.

Anthony said: 'I've been gone to America for 49 years and I have been back every single year to Balbriggan. The town means everything to me. I was born a block from where we are sitting. I love the town.'

The five McMahon siblings were only all together a handful of times after their mother died and although two have passed on, the remaining three siblings are delighted, honoured and moved to be reunited for this very special occasion.

A celebration of the life of Pte. Terence Joseph McMahon will take place in Balbriggan on Saturday, July 15, hosted by the local historical society and all are welcome.

It begins with a mass at 11.30 at St Peter and Paul's Church and moves on to a parade to George's Sqaure from the church at 12.15pm which will feature the St Patrick's Brass and Reed Band and several Jadotville Veterans.

The unveiling of a plaque to Terry by Mayor of Fingal, Mary McCamley will take place at George's Square at 12.30pm and at 1.30pm The Bracken Court Hotel will host a talk about the Siege of Jadotville by Commandant Leo Quinlan, the son of the man in charge of the battalion in that fateful week in the Congo, Patrick Quinlan.

Fingal Independent

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