A remembrance ceremony took place yesterday in St. Mary’s Church, Westport for the late Finbar Cafferkey. The Achill island native was killed in Ukraine last April while assisting local forces.

His brothrer Colm Cafferkey told the gathering that his only brother died in the battle for Bakhmut and that his body has never been recovered.

“I loved my brother Finbar but now, I’m told, he’s gone, killed last April near Bakhmut like so many others. He’s gone, I’m told but the reality refuses to land on me, he explained

 “Let us honour the sisters, brothers, parents, sisters and friends who have fallen in the war. Let their laughter, kindness and love live on through us and let’s build the loving world that they deserved”.

Finbar Cafferkey (45) died in a Russian mortar strike along with two other foreign fighters.

Efforts to retrieve his body have so far proved unsuccessful

 Several hundred people, many of them Ukranians who have fled the war in their own country, gathered at The Octagon, Westport yesterday afternoon and later in the local church, for ceremonies to mark the two-year anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Welcoming the large crowd, Judy Quinlan of Westport Welcomes Ukranians (WWU) said: “Many of the people here today have lost more than we can imagine.

She made special mention of Finbar Cafferkey. “He was killed fighting for Ukrainian freedom from Russian terror. His family must be so proud of him. We want to thank his parents (Tom and Celine) for raising such a hero.”

Photos of Ukranian soldiers who have died fighting for their country were held aloft by grieving relatives, a gesture described afterwards by Michael Loftus, Cathaoirleach of Mayo County Council as “extremely moving”,

The Cathaoirleach said he was astonished at the level of support that has  come from the people of Mayo for the Ukranian people and he pledged to continue that support “for as long as we have to”.

Westport P.P. Fr. John Kenny hosted the church remembrance service which featured prayers, songs and poetry readings and a reading of “A Letter from Heaven” by Finbar Cafferkey’s aunt Phylomena Heaney.



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