An Irishman has died while fighting on the frontline in the Ukraine war, his family has confirmed.
Rory Mason, 23, from Dunboyne in Co Meath was killed in action while fighting in the International Legion for the Defence of Ukraine near the Russian border.
He died in battle on Wednesday, September 28.
The Mason family learned of Rory’s death from the Department of Foreign Affairs, which is providing consular assistance.
In a statement Rory's father Rob said: “Rory was a private young man of drive, purpose, and conviction. 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.
Deeply saddened to hear of the death of Rory Mason. My condolences to his family, friends & community in Dunboyne. War is horrifying with so much loss of life but sometimes you have to fight for what is right. Rory fought with Ukraine against aggression, for Europe, for democracy— Leo Varadkar (@LeoVaradkar) October 5, 2022
"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, principal 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”.
Mr Mason enlisted in the International Legion for the Defence of Ukraine at the outset of the conflict last March.
Ukrainian MP Sviatoslav Yurash said that the people of Ukraine will forever thank Rory Mason and his family for all he did to help their country “in this time of the greatest need”.
A number of Irish citizens have travelled to Ukraine to take part in the fighting in the Foreign Legion.
Numbers vary but sources have said it could be in the region of 20 or so fighters – most of whom have military experience.
There are also a number of Irish citizens, mostly former members of the Irish
Defence Forces, engaged in private security work in the area.
Rory Mason is survived by his parents Rob and Elizabeth and his younger brother (22) and sister (21).