Irish activist dies fighting Russian invasion
Irish activist dies fighting Russian invasion


A Mayo man described as a committed socialist and republican has died while fighting as part of international resistance to the Russian occupation of Ukraine.

The brother of Irishman Finbar Cafferkey who died in fighting near Bakhmut in eastern Ukraine said his sibling was “fair-minded” and “strong-willed” and had “stood against all forms of imperialism, be it US, British, or Russian”.

“He was in Ukraine to help the Ukrainian people, as he would have helped any person in the world who was under attack,” said Achill man Colm MacEachmharcaigh.

“I loved him and always admired his clear-eyed bravery.”

A close friend, Andrew Flood, said Mr Cafferkey was “a friend and comrade who for the two decades I knew him consistently put himself in harm’s way to oppose injustice.”

Mr Cafferkey’s activism on environmental issues, homelessness and migration has also been praised in tributes online. The Shell to Sea campaign, who he helped to oppose the construction of a natural gas pipeline in the west of Ireland, said he had been a “brave friend” who was “guided by the principles of freedom and equality for all”.

A statement posed on Facebook by Italian friend Davide Grasso recalled they he had fought against ISIS in Syria and in 2017 had “contributed to liberate Ar-Raqqa”.

“I met him in Rojava that year and I greeted him the last time last January in Italy. He was an humble, quiet, extremely sensitive and sweet person.

“He was volunteering between Poland and Ukraine since the Russian invasion, in various humanitarian groups. Recently he decided to contribute to the armed resistance as well.

“Finbar was an Irish republican and a socialist, a reference for everyone in the community of Achill Island, where he was from. Fond of the revolutionary history of Ireland, Spain, Kurdistan and the world, he was an activist in the Shell to Sea ecologist movement in Ireland, an active supporter of the Susa Valley’s No Tav Movement in Italy, volunteer with refugees in Greece, squatter against urban speculation in Dublin.

“His ethics and commitment to the values of equality, independence and freedom kept undamaged to the end. His figure is one of the most significant of our times. Protecting and enhancing his legacy for the generations to come will be our duty in the upcoming years.

“Rest in peace.”

Urgent Appeal

Despite increasing support for Irish freedom and unity, we need your help to overcome British and unionist intransigence. We can end the denial of our rights in relation to Brexit, the Irish language, a border poll and legacy issues, with your support.

Please support IRN now to help us continue reporting and campaigning for our national rights. Even one pound a month can make a big difference for us.

Your contribution can be made with a credit or debit card by clicking below. A continuing monthly donation of £2 or more will give you full access to this site. Thank you. Go raibh míle maith agat.

© 2023 Irish Republican News