Irish man injured in Ukraine shocked by death of Rory Mason

Brian Maher from Co Meath was injured during the Kharkiv offensive

An Irish man, who was injured while fighting in Ukraine, has said he was shocked when he heard of the death of fellow Irish fighter Rory Mason.

Mr Mason, from Dunboyne, was killed on September 28th while fighting in the International Legion for the Defence of Ukraine as a serviceman of the Ukrainian Armed Forces in the Kharkiv region.

The Mason family learned of the 23-year-old’s death from the Department of Foreign Affairs, which is providing consular assistance.

Mr Mason’s father Rob described Rory as a “private young man of drive, purpose and conviction”.

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Brian Maher, speaking from an ambulance en route to Lviv after he was injured in the Kharkiv offensive, told RTE radio’s Morning Ireland that he was surprised that the two had not met in Ukraine and noted they were both from Meath. “He’s from Dunboyne and I’m from Ratoath.”

Mr Maher said it had been frightening to be under artillery fire and said fighting the fighting was leading to many deaths and injuries.

“I don’t know the casualty rates [but] I saw injuries in the hospital, it was pretty horrific”.

Asked why he had gone to fight in Ukraine, Mr Maher said his family would be relatively financially stable should anything happen to him as he had life insurance.

His children would be safe. “In my head, I felt justified in going. There are kids here that are not safe. I suppose that’s the reason why I came over here.”

Mr Maher said his only regret was that he was injured. He was shot in his right forearm and has shrapnel in his heart and spine.

“Whoever shot me was aiming for my chest, because I had my thumbs tucked into my plate carrier [the bullet] struck my forearm, hit the bone and ricocheted back out. I should be dead three or four times over.”

Mr Maher said he did not have details on his repatriation or whether he would be returning with Mr Mason’s remains.

“I haven’t told my family that I’m coming home as things change very quickly in Ukraine. I will wait until I get to Poland.

“I feel guilty that I’m leaving. When I was first injured, I thought ‘get me out of here’, but now that I’m getting stronger, I feel kind of guilty that I’m not out there with the guys in my unit. I’m looking forward to coming home as well.”

Vivienne Clarke

Vivienne Clarke is a media monitor and reporter