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Huge loss Funeral for journalist Pierre Zakrzewski killed in Ukraine told he was a 'proud Irishman'

'Truth telling is a work of love and love always comes at a price'

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The funeral of Pierre Zakrzewski at The Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Foxrock south County Dublin this morning. Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

The funeral of Pierre Zakrzewski at The Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Foxrock south County Dublin this morning. Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

The funeral of Pierre Zakrzewski at The Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Foxrock south County Dublin this morning. Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

The funeral mass for the Irish journalist Pierre Zakrzewski who was killed in Ukraine was told he was a "truth-teller full of empathy, and generous of heart". 

Mr Zakrzewski was working for US network Fox News in Horenka, on the outskirts of Kyiv, on March 14 when his vehicle was hit by Russian shelling.

His colleague, Ukrainian producer Oleksandra Kuvshynova, also died while British reporter Benjamin Hall was injured in the incident.

At his funeral service at the Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour in Foxrock today, Fr Kieran Dunne told mourners that Mr Zakrzewski was a "truth-teller full of empathy, generous of heart".

Fr Dunne said, "truth telling is a work of love and love always comes at a price and what a terrible price."

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Pierre Zakrzewski in Ukraine the day before he was killed.

Pierre Zakrzewski in Ukraine the day before he was killed.

Pierre Zakrzewski in Ukraine the day before he was killed.

He was a "lovable person, well-regarded", a "proud Irishman" and a "storyteller" who wished to "encounter people truly and without ego and to truly present their stories and their uniqueness to the world", Fr Dunne said.

According to RTE, both the President and Taoiseach were represented at the funeral. The Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney, American Ambassador to Ireland Claire Cronin and Labour party leader Ivana Bacik were also in attendance along with representatives from the Ukrainian, Polish and French embassies.

His brother Stas said Pierre was "highly inspirational to his friends and family; he has taught us to think outside the boundaries and that nothing is impossible. We all love you Pierre and your spirit will live within us all".

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 Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney TD and Labour Party leader Ivana Bacik TD arriving for the funeral of Pierre Zakrzewski at The Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Foxrock south County Dublin this morning. Picture Colin Keegan, Collins

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney TD and Labour Party leader Ivana Bacik TD arriving for the funeral of Pierre Zakrzewski at The Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Foxrock south County Dublin this morning. Picture Colin Keegan, Collins

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney TD and Labour Party leader Ivana Bacik TD arriving for the funeral of Pierre Zakrzewski at The Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Foxrock south County Dublin this morning. Picture Colin Keegan, Collins

His school friend, Tim, said Mr Zakrzewski was an exceptional human being.

He said it was not what Pierre had accomplished in life but it was "how he made us feel" and that he "brought hope and light to the darkest places of the world, trying to make our world a better place, by exposing bullies and tyrants".

"We were at our best when we were with him."

Mr Zakrzewski's nephews and nieces presented gifts in the church, including a camera, a toy motorbike and his favourite foods, including a packet of Tayto.

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Tributes from family members, colleagues and friends depicted a man full of energy who had a passion for travel, photography, politics and story-telling.

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Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney TD (right ) with brother Greg Zakrzewski  (left )arriving for the funeral of Pierre Zakrzewski at The Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Foxrock south County Dublin this morning. Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney TD (right ) with brother Greg Zakrzewski (left )arriving for the funeral of Pierre Zakrzewski at The Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Foxrock south County Dublin this morning. Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney TD (right ) with brother Greg Zakrzewski (left )arriving for the funeral of Pierre Zakrzewski at The Church of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour, Foxrock south County Dublin this morning. Picture Colin Keegan, Collins Dublin

A colleague at US network Fox News said the cameraman was just as happy covering a NATO summit as a conflict - as long as he could climb a building to find the best spot to place his equipment.

He added that Mr Zakrzewski spent much time on the phone, including to help people escape Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover.

A framed black-and-white photograph of the journalist was placed on top of the white coffin during the funeral mass.

The 55-year-old journalist who grew up in Leopardstown, south Dublin, and held both Irish and French citizenship, had covered conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria for Fox News.

Several other journalists, including Brent Renaud, an American documentary film-maker and another veteran of covering war zones, have been killed in Ukraine since the conflict began more than a month ago.

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