Irishman killed fighting in Ukraine

Irishman, 23, is killed fighting in Ukraine: Family mourn volunteer soldier who ‘could never turn away in the face of injustice’

  • Rory Mason, 23, from Dunboyne in Co Meath, died while fighting for Ukraine
  • He was fighting with the International Legion near the Russian border
  • Mr Mason’s family learnt of his death from the Department of Foreign Affairs
  • They said while they were sad for his death, they were proud of his ‘courage and determination and his selflessness’ in enlisting to support Ukraine in its fight

An Irishman has been killed while fighting in Ukraine, his family have confirmed, saying he was a soldier who ‘could never turn away in the face of injustice’.

Rory Mason, 23, from Dunboyne in Co Meath, died while fighting for Ukraine’s International Legion against Vladimir Putin’s invaders near the Russian border.

The Mason family learnt of his death from the Department of Foreign Affairs, which is providing consular assistance.

The family said they are in contact with representatives of the International Legion for the Defence of Ukraine, for which he enlisted last March.

Mr Mason’s family said that information on his death is limited and their priority at this point is to repatriate his remains.

His father Rob said: ‘Rory was a private young man of drive, purpose and conviction.

Rory Mason (pictured wearing military gear with a Ukrainian insignia), 23, from Dunboyne in Co Meath, died while fighting for Ukraine’s International Legion near the Russian border

‘Though we are deeply saddened at his death, we are enormously proud of his courage and determination and his selflessness in immediately enlisting to support Ukraine. Rory was never political but he had a deep sense of right and wrong and an inability to turn the other way in the face of injustice.

‘He had a long-standing interest in eastern Europe, in travel, and in learning new languages, including Russian. Those who fought alongside Rory speak of ‘a truly brave and courageous man who could have left at any time but chose not to’.

‘In the words of a colleague who served with him, ‘Rory was a man who from a glance could seem shy, however when it came to actions and character he proved again and again he was a man of fortitude, principle and honour’.

‘Rory was our son and we will miss him enormously. As our family is still trying to come to terms with Rory’s death, we would appeal for privacy at this difficult time.’

Before joining the International Legion, his family said he had been working in Germany to help fund his travel ambitions.

A native of Dunboyne, he attended Dunboyne National School and St Peter’s College, Dunboyne.

In a statement, the International Legion said: ‘Our brother in arms, Rory Mason, has taken part in the Kharkiv counter-offensive with his unit and was killed in action. While conducting operations, the unit came under attack.

‘We are in contact with the family and in co-ordination with them, following their wishes and instructions, the International Legion and the Armed Forces of Ukraine are handling the repatriation process.

‘At this time, to protect operational security and the family’s privacy we cannot release more information.

‘Rory’s memory will live on in his unit, in the Legion and the Armed Forces of Ukraine.

‘We would ask for the family’s privacy to be respected at this difficult time.’

Ukrainian servicemen attend the ceremony of raising the National flag in the recently recaptured city of Lyman, Donetsk area, Ukraine, October 4

A BM-21 ‘Grad’ multiple rocket launcher fires at Russian positions in Kharkiv region on Tuesday

The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs issued a statement saying: ‘The Department of Foreign Affairs is aware of a case and is providing consular assistance.

‘As with all consular cases, the department does not comment on the details of any individual case.’

Mr Mason is survived by parents Rob and Elizabeth and a 22-year-old brother and 21-year-old sister.

Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe said the family’s grief has been heightened by the circumstances of his death.

‘I’m very conscious of the fact that there’s a family grieving at the moment, that have lost a loved member of their family in circumstances that we can hardly imagine,’ Mr Donohoe said.

‘I’m sure that grief is just heightened by the circumstances in which it happened, and by their lives being touched by a vast, vicious war.

‘The Department of Foreign Affairs is providing all support that we can to the family in this dreadful, dreadful loss of life.

‘My condolences go out to them, and we will give them and their family any support that we can give in this terrible moment of loss.’

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