Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Finbar Cafferkey – “Achill Island Man killed fighting Russian forces in Ukraine” – Russian Embassy in Dublin Threatens Irish Government

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Finbar Cafferkey’s death was front page headline news in one of the leading Irish daily newspapers, the Irish Times. The newspaper also reports :

Council of Europe says deportation of children from Ukraine is “genocide”

Irish Times, Friday April 28 2023, Front Page

Vladyslav Starodubtsev, a member of the Ukrainian organisation Sotsialnyi Rukh (Social Movement) issued the following tweet :

Vladyslav Starodubtsev (@VlStarodubtsev) tweeted at 8:36 pm on Thu, Apr 27, 2023:
Irish freedom fighter, who fought for Kurdish YPG and then in Armed forces of Ukraine (ZSU) died today. Glory to such persons, who are ready to defend a just cause and die for it. Glory to heroes

Finbar Cafferkey served with the same unit of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, and died in the same battle as did his comrade, fellow internationalist, anarchist and revolutionary, Dmitry Petrov from Russia.

Taras Bilous – Sotsialnyi Rukh – wrote a long thread about Dmitry’s life.

Taras Bilous (@ahatanhel) tweeted at 7:19 am on Fri, Apr 28, 2023:
Dmitry was a co-founder of the Combat Organization of Anarcho-Communists (BOAK), which sabotaged railway infrastructure in Russia since the start of the invasion.

He send his last word to them for publication in case he died. 9/9

Here is the full Irish Times story :

Achill Island man killed fighting Russian forces in Ukraine

Finbar Cafferkey was a volunteer, with combat experience in Syria


An Irish man has been killed while battling Russian forces in eastern Ukraine.

Finbar Cafferkey, who was in his 40s and a native of Achill Island, Co Mayo, was a military volunteer and had recently travelled to Ukraine to assist local forces. He had combat experience in Syria, where he assisted Kurdish militia in their battle against Islamic State.

Reports of Mr Cafferkey’s death were confirmed by his father, Tom, at the family home in Cashel, Achill, yesterday afternoon. Mr Cafferkey declined to elaborate on the circumstances of his son’s death.

“We are grieving . . . it’s a private matter. I don’t want to say anything further,” he said.

It is understood the family will be issuing a statement later on Mr Cafferkey’s death.

Local people on Achill Island said reports began to emerge on Wednesday that Mr Cafferkey had been killed, and spoke of his commitment to humanitarian and environmental causes.

“Now that his death has been confirmed, we are absolutely devastated,” one person said.

He took part in the Shell to Sea protests against the Corrib Gas project and, in later years, worked in Copenhagen on a construction project.

“Finbar was a man of principle,” one islander said. “I know that about eight years ago he worked on the border between Greece and Macedonia assisting [refugees] coming off dinghies. It came as a bit of a surprise when we learned from newspaper reports that he had been fighting in Syria. Nobody around here, except perhaps his family, knew he was in Ukraine.

“I know that relatives have been concerned for his safety over the years. His family have been particularly worried.”

The dead man’s parents, Tom and Celine, are being comforted by close relatives and neighbours. Tom is a former publican, who now works as an auctioneer.

Campaigners who opposed the Corrib Gas terminal and pipeline expressed their condolences to the Cafferkey family and the local Achill community on their sad loss on Thursday evening.

“It’s really sad news,” said Pat O’Donnell, a prominent member of the Shell to Sea campaign. Mr O’Donnell recalled Mr Cafferkey as “a good guy, good craic”.

He added: “Finbar regularly attended our protests. I remember he was a good singer. He composed a mighty song, ‘The Lovely Glengad Strand’ which he sang at a protest rally outside Castlerea Prison while I was locked up there.”


Meanwhile, the parliamentary assembly of the Council of Europe voted at a session yesterday that the forced detention and deportation of children from Russian occupied territories of Ukraine is “genocide”.

A resolution on “deportations and forcible transfers of Ukrainian children and other civilians to Russian Federation or to Ukrainian territories temporarily occupied: create conditions for their safe return, stop these crimes and punish the perpetrators” passed with 87 votes in favour, meaning an overwhelming majority. One representative voted against, and another abstained.

In its resolution, the assembly called for “immediate and urgent action to be taken to halt the practices of unlawful forcible transfer and deportation currently being carried out by the Russian Federation against the Ukrainian population, and especially its policy and practices relating to the removal of children from their families and homes and their subsequent absorption into Russian citizenship, identity and culture.”

It added: “The assembly highlights the need for the recording and monitoring of individual cases, both in order to permit mechanisms for rapid redress, and to collect evidence of accountability in order to bring the perpetrators, at all levels of responsibility, to justice.”

The assembly called for the practice to stop “immediately and unconditionally”.It also demanded Russia give access to NGOs and charities, as well as information about where the children now are.

The international criminal court issued an arrest warrant for Vladimir Putin in March in relation to the “unlawful deportation” of minors.

The resolution claims Russia began moving children from the occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk before its invasion on February 24th last year.

In a report this month, the Ukrainian government said it had collected reports of more than 19,000 children who had been deported.

The Russian embassy in Ireland reacted to the news, threatening the Dublin government and media – the Irish Times reports :

The Russian embassy in Dublin has warned the Government that official sympathy extended to the family of an Irish man killed in Ukraine could lead to Ireland being considered a “participant of the conflict with all the ensuing consequences”.

The embassy also said the Irish Government and media “bear responsibility” for the death of Finbar Cafferkey.

Achill Island man killed battling Russian forces in eastern Ukraine

The statement issued on Friday night was immediately condemned by the chairman of the Dáil Committee on Foreign Affairs & Defence Charlie Flanagan as “threatening, intimidating and chilling”.

Mr Cafferkey’s father, Tom, confirmed on Thursday afternoon at the family home at Cashel, Achill that his son had been killed in Ukraine but he didn’t elaborate on the circumstances in which his son had lost his life.

Finbar Cafferkey had combat experience fighting with Kurdish militias against Islamic State in Syria.

News of Mr Cafferkey’s death has been greeted with shock and sadness on Achill Island where one local described him as “a man of principle” and recalled that he had worked around eight years ago on the border between Greece and Macedonia, assisting refugees landing in dinghies.

The Russian embassy questioned the Tánaiste Micheál Martin’s statement following the death of Mr Cafferkey.

“We have noted that on April 28th Tánaiste has expressed his sympathies to the family of Finbar Cafferkey following reports of his death fighting presumably with the Ukrainian military against Russian armed forces,” the statement issued on Friday night said.

Tánaiste pays tribute to Irish ‘man of clear principles’ killed fighting in Ukraine

“Mr Martin called him ‘obviously a young man of clear principles’. Every loss of life is sad and regretful. We do not know who Finbar Cafferkey was, except that for whatever reason he was fighting in a foreign land.

“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 continued.

“It has been the Government and media who have been promoting anti-Russian propaganda, distorting the truth about the conflict in Ukraine, misleading people like Finbar Cafferkey. Now they face the results of their own efforts.”

The statement added that the Russian administration did 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.”

In a tweet Mr Flanagan said the statement was “threatening, intimidating and chilling”.

He said the “hostile remarks are unacceptable” and added that it was “beyond time Ambassador Filatov and his crew were asked to leave our country”.

See also this report published by the Irish State’s main television and radio broadcaster, Radio Telifís Éireann (RTÉ) :

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