Family of Irish man killed in Ukraine pays tribute to his 'clear-eyed bravery'

Family Of Irish Man Killed In Ukraine Pays Tribute To His 'Clear-Eyed Bravery'
Finbar Cafferkey, who was in his 40s, was killed while battling Russian forces in eastern Ukraine, his family confirmed on Thursday.
Share this article

The brother of an Irish man killed fighting in Ukraine has paid tribute to his “clear-eyed bravery” and said he was “against all forms of imperialism” be it US, British or Russian.

Finbar Cafferkey, who was in his 40s, was killed while battling Russian forces in eastern Ukraine, his family confirmed on Thursday.


He was a military volunteer with previous combat experience in Syria where he assisted Kurdish militia in their battle against ISIS. He had recently travelled to Ukraine to assist local forces there.

Tributes to Mr Cafferkey from the Tánaiste prompted a warning from the Russian embassy in Ireland and then further calls to expel the Russian ambassador from the country.

In a statement, Mr Cafferkey's brother Colm paid tribute to a man who was always “fair minded, strong willed and unafraid”.

“[Finbar] stood against all forms of imperialism, be it US, British, or Russian and was strongly opposed to Ireland’s support of US troops and any moves toward joining NATO,” he said.


“He was in Ukraine to help the Ukranian people, as he would have helped any person in the world who was under attack. I loved him and always admired his clear eyed bravery.”

In a statement over the weekend, the Department of Foreign Affairs said the Government’s position is “crystal clear” and its support for Ukraine is “unwavering”.

The department said it would be maintaining its current diplomatic relationship with Russia but also hit out at “Russian disinformation”.

It came after a “chilling” statement from the Russian Embassy in Ireland on Friday evening, which warned Ireland will suffer “all consequences” if Irish citizens are encouraged to fight in Ukraine.


The same will happen if Russia considers Ireland a “direct participant” in the war between Russia and Ukraine, according to a statement from the embassy posted on social media.

This statement appeared to have been prompted by comments made by Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin about the late Mr Cafferkey.

Mr Martin had said: “My deepest sympathies to the Cafferky family on the sad passing of Finbar.

“He obviously was a young man of clear principles. Our thoughts and our prayers are with the family today.


“I think the family have asked for privacy, I’m not going to comment any further on it at this particular time. I’ll allow the family space to grieve what is a very, very sad loss for them.” In a statement on Friday evening, the Russian embassy hit out at the Tánaiste’s remarks.

It said: “We have noted that on April 28, (the) Tánaiste expressed his sympathies to the family of Finbar Cafferkey. Mr Martin called him ‘obviously a young man of clear principles’.

“We do not know what his principles were. What we do know, though, is that in a very big way it is the Irish Government and media who bear responsibility for the death of Finbar Cafferkey.”

The statement also claimed the Government and media have been “misleading people like Finbar Cafferkey”.


It added: “We do not know if Mr Martin’s remarks signify support for the Irish to take part in combat in Ukraine.

“But we do know that if that is the case, then Ireland would be the direct participant of the conflict with all the ensuing consequences.”

Former Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan is among those to criticise the statement, describing it as “threatening, intimidating, and chilling” and called for ambassador Yuri Filatov to be expelled.

Read More

Message submitting... Thank you for waiting.

Want us to email you top stories each lunch time?

Download our Apps
© 2023, developed by Square1 and powered by