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Fermoy to cut ties with Polish town?

Wednesday, 9th September, 2020 3:21pm

Fermoy’s town twinning with a ‘LGBT-free zone’ in Poland will be discussed next week with termination of the twinning likely.

The Cork town is twinned with Nowa Deba, one of 100 Polish municipalities that has adopted resolutions against LGBTQ ideology, branding them as so called ‘LGBT-free zones’.

A group called LGBTQ Solidarity Ireland is calling on both Fermoy and Cobh to end their twinning connections with two LGBT-free zones in Poland. The group is made up of Irish and Polish people.

A spokesperson for the group told the Cork Independent that it was set up in response to show support for the LGBTQ community in Poland but the group has plans to support many other initiatives.

They said: “We would like a clear statement to be made that what’s going on in Poland is not acceptable. We feel it’s really important that Ireland supports the LGBTQ community in Poland and this group is one way of showing solidarity with them. It’s important that the LGBTQ community feel safe anywhere in Europe.”

Fine Gael Cllr Noel McCarthy told the Cork Independent yesterday, Wednesday, that Fermoy’s twinning will be discussed at the next Fermoy Municipal District Council, which is on Tuesday 15 September. 

He explained that in July it was agreed to send a letter to officials in Nowa Deba, in the south-east of Poland, explaining that the council couldn’t support their views on the LGBTQ community. They gave officials until September to reply, while it was also agreed to suspend Fermoy’s twinning with the Polish town until a reply is received.

“That’s how strongly we felt about it,” said the local councillor.

He added: “Fermoy doesn’t want to be associated with any town or any place that discriminates against any group especially against the LGBT community. 

“If we get a response, we will discuss it but if we don’t we are going to terminate all ties with Nova Deba. We have told the twinning committee in Nowa Deba that this has nothing to do with the people but with their state authorities who have made the decision. It’s discrimination and Fermoy doesn’t want to be associated with it.”

Meanwhile, Cobh’s twinning with the municipality of Kolbuszowa is also being looked at.

Green Party Cllr Alan O’Connor explained: “After making inquiries of staff at County Hall, I found out that the town of Cobh was twinned with the municipality of Kolbuszowa (Gmina Kolbuszowa), rather than the county of Kolbuszowa (Powiat Kolbuszowski). It was, as far as I know, Powiat Kolbuszowski which resolved to make itself an anti-LGBT ideology zone.”

Councillors in the area wrote to Gmina Kolbuszowa for clarification on their stance before taking any further action and are still awaiting a response.

“Termination of Cobh’s twinning is on the table, but we are waiting for a reply and clarification first before we make any decision. I hope we were firm in the letter. It’s nice to be twinned with them but we don’t stand for this. LGBT rights are human rights and the town of Cobh doesn’t want to see any group discriminated against. Terminating that twinning is a strong option,” concluded Cllr O’Connor.

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