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Wreath-laying ceremony to honour Donegal Congo hero

Staff Reporter

Reporter:

Staff Reporter

 Wreath-laying ceremony to honour Donegal Congo hero

Sam McManus makes a presentation to Betty Gildea on behalf of ex-members of the-28th infantry Battalion.

A wreath-laying ceremony has taken place to honour Donegal Congo hero Paddy Gildea who died in 1974.

The ceremony was held in Castlefinn graveyard.

Paddy  Gildea was a member of the 4th Field Engineers based in Custume Barracks in Athlone.

Paddy was one of eleven Donegal soldiers who fought at the siege of Jadoville in 1961 when 155  soldiers under the command of Commandant Pat Quinlin were sent to the mining town to protect its citizens from mercenaries.the soldiers had been attending

The soldiers had been attending open-air Mass when they were attacked.

The siege lasted for six days and the company was eventually forced to surrender after their ammunition and supplies ran out.

Around 300 attackers killed in the siege and no Irish lost their lives.They were held prisoners of war for almost a month before being released.

The Donegal soldiers who fought in Jadoville were Paddy Gildea, Castlefin; Jim Gormley Ballyshannon; William Duffy; Harry Hegarty; Michael McDermott; Patrick  Nicell , Burnfoot; Sean Kerr, Bundoran; James O'Kane, Castlefin; Joe Boland; James Harper, and Bobby Bradley, St.Johnston.

 A number of  28th Battalion members from the different posts throughout Ireland, Organisation of National Ex-Servicemen and Irish United Nations Veterans Association (IUNVA)  members attended the ceremony including the IUNVA National Secretary Jim Casey.

M.C was Gerry Carron Ballyshannon and family Liaison Officer was Eunan Carroll.

Fr. Porter recited the prayers and blessed the grave with all Paddy's family present.

Laments were played by Piper Willie Coffey. Wreaths were laid by the ex-army groups IUNVA, ONE, members of the 28infantrynty battalion and Paddy's family members. Refreshments were served in St.Mary's Hall afterwards with a number of presentations being made to family members.

Refreshments were served in St.Mary's Hall afterwards with a number of presentations being made to family members.

Paddy's family thanked all involved for making the day a most memorable one for them.