Ireland, the United Nations and the Congo

A military and diplomatic history, 1960-1

By Michael Kennedy, Art Magennis

In 1961, Irish UN peacekeepers went into combat in the Congolese province of Katanga. It was the Irish Defense Forces' first experience of active service since 1923. Irish diplomat Conor Cruise O'Brien headed the UN mission in Katanga. Former chief of staff of the defense forces, Lt.-Gen. Sean MacEoin, was in overall command of UN troops in Congo. Irish units suffered casualties and men were taken prisoner as the fighting in Katanga continued. The crisis now facing Taoiseach Sean Lemass became the most delicate and dangerous chapter in Ireland's foreign relations since 1945. Based on a first-hand account of the fighting by an Irish cavalry officer, previously unseen UN archives, and the papers of UN Secretary General Dag Hammarskjold, this book covers 18 critical months, from July 1960 to December 1961, which almost tore the UN apart and which brought the realities of UN membership to Ireland. This book is an Irish diplomatic and military perspective on a defining moment in the history of the United Nations, the Cold War, and modern Africa.


Publication Date: 6/30/2014
Format: Cloth
ISBN: 9781846825231