Thursday, 6 April 2017
Personal Explanation by Member
I thank the Office and staff of the Ceann Comhairle for facilitating my request to make a personal explanation in regard to remarks I made during Department of Defence questions on 13 December 2016, in which I inadvertently upset the family of Lieutenant Colonel McNamee of the 35th Battalion commission in the UN peacekeeping mission in Congo. My Department of Defence question was to highlight the experience, courage and bravery of the men of A Company who were present at the siege of Jadotville and to point out that their bravery had not been recognised in an appropriate manner in the form of medals. This is sadly still the case and Donegal County Council passed a motion yesterday calling for same. In the Minister's reply he referred to the fact that portraits of the commissioned officers had in fact been carried out. In replying, I was trying to make the point that, while senior officers had been given some recognition, the men of A Company who were at the siege had not been so recognised. In this I implied that Lieutenant Colonel McNamee had not been in Congo, while the point I wanted to make was that he had not been at the siege of Jadotville. The family was upset by this because, of course, he was present, so I asked the Office of the Ceann Comhairle if I could make this statement today. I am very happy to do that and I am sorry for any offence caused.