ONE Challenge is launched in Dundalk

ONE Challenge is launched in Dundalk in Memory of our 26 Fallen Congo Comrades

Pictured L/R are: Sgt Major John Doyle, 27 Inf Bn, Colm Fergus, Jim McEneaney Branch Chairperson, Neil O’Malley ONE Challenge Committee, Mickey Rafferty Dundalk Credit Union, Frank Larrigan Branch President, Pat Donnelly ONE Board Member, Ollie O’Connor former ONE CEO and Mick Reid Branch Treasurer.

The Irish Army served with honour in the Congo from 1960 – 1964. When the last Irish soldiers left the Congo in 1964, a total of approximately 6,000 Irish soldiers had served there under the blue flag of the United Nations.

Sadly though 26 of our comrades died or were killed in action during that time. One of our first soldiers to be killed in action in the Niemba Ambush was Private Gerry Killeen who was born and raised in St. Nicholas Avenue here in Dundalk Town, he along with 10 of his comrades died in that ambush, which was the biggest loss of life in a single action in Defence Forces history.

To remember all our comrades who served in the Congo especially those who made the ultimate sacrifice for Ireland during those 4 years, ONE has decided to organise and run a virtual challenge.

Pictured L/R is Micheal McNeela Branch members Jim McEneaney Branch Chairperson, Frank Larrigan Branch President, Mick Reid Branch Treasurer along with Neil O’Malley ONE Challenge Committee

The overall aim of the virtual challenge is to complete a total of 30,000km, which is approximately the round trip from Dublin to the Congo plus 6,000km, which represents the 6,000 soldiers who served during those 4 years in the Congo. This target will be achieved by totalling the combined effort of all participants over a given time frame of 26 days, to honour our 26 Irish soldiers who died during their service with the United Nations in the Congo.

To encourage participants and appeal to a wider audience this virtual challenge is open to Walkers, Runners, Joggers, Swimmers and Cyclists. The Challenge will run from Friday the 1St July to Tuesday 26th July, each day of the challenge will be dedicated to 1 of the 26 men who died in the Congo.

The launch of the ONE Challenge took place on Wednesday 26th May, outside our Veterans Support Centre In Aiken Barracks, Dundalk. The committee is made up of members of the Micheal McNeela Branch of ONE. Many thanks to OC 27 Inf Bn and Aiken Barracks for the use of the facilities.

Register on and follow the instructions, if you are not available to participate you can still donate to support the event. Every participant who registers will receive a T-shirt with the names of the 26 fallen, medal, and on completion can download a certificate.

Sincere thanks to Dundalk Credit Union and the military’s ANSAC Credit Union for their sponsorship.

Awards will be provided for the following: Top Male, Top Female, Top ONE Team, Top Defence Forces Team, and Top Civilian Team.

All the proceeds will go towards providing accommodation and assistance to veterans in need.

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