The son of the Commanding Officer at the Jadotville siege has described the organising of an unveiling of a monument in Custume Barracks today as incompetent and quite offensive.
Leo Quinlan was speaking about the unveiling of a monument in the Athlone Barracks today dedicated to the memories of the families of the personnel of A Company, 35th Infantry Battalion who took part in the Siege of Jadotville in September 1961.
The monument was commissioned on the recommendation of the Independent Review Group established to examine the events at Jadotville in 1961. It said it was in recognition of the role of parents, wives and families residing in Athlone, Galway, Mullingar and elsewhere during the Battle of Jadotville and the subsequent period in captivity. The unveiling was performed this afternoon by Defence Minister Simon Coveney. Leo Quinlan, a former commandant of Barna, Co Galway, is a son of the late Cmdt Patrick Quinlan, who commanded the Irish troops at Jadotville.
He says there appears to have been no consultation with the families about this monument and many either didn't get invited to todays event, or found out in a very haphazard fashion.
"Certainly there was a lot of confusion about it because I, for example, didn't hear about until Tuesday of last week when another veteran's son phoned me to say he got an invitation. That was the first I heard of it. I did not get an invitation until two days ago, which was the 11tth hour. I'm aware of other families who got no invitation. I think it was very insensitive the way it was done, certainly discourteous to the families. It was ill-planned and the word that comes into my mind about the organisation of this is incompetent and quite offensive in many ways".