Congo – An Irish Affair is a penetrating and poignant study of the Irish-led 1961 UN peacekeeping mission to Katanga, a province that wanted to break-away from the newly independent Congo and the two Irishmen who were key decision makers in the country during that time, Gen. Seán McKeown, commander of the UN military force and Irish diplomat, Conor Cruise O’Brien, the UN’s civil representative in Katanga.
In the western-inspired chaos of newly independent Congo, a company of Irish peacekeepers led by Commandant Pat Quinlan, face death and destruction at the hands of white mercenaries and their Katangan allies. The situation comes to a violent climax as the UN comes under fire from all sides, its Secretary- General is killed and its soldiers come under ferocious attack from the white-led Katangese.
Talking to survivors and making wonderful use of both archival footage and reconstruction, Congo – An Irish Affair pieces together the story of people asked to achieve an impossible goal. It is a searing indictment of the UN and of European attitudes to Africa but, equally, shows the hopelessness of the situation as armed factions with mutually exclusive desires slip ever closer to war. Congo – An Irish Affair is a positively charged, historical documentary and is a tragic yet timely reminder that the overused epithet ‘Never Again’ is destined to make liars of us all.
Jameson Dublin International Film Festival
“Congo – An Irish Affair” premiered at the Dublin Film Festival 2011.