Fermoy terminates twinning arrangement with "LGBT-free" town in Poland 1 week ago

Fermoy terminates twinning arrangement with "LGBT-free" town in Poland

Nowa Dęba is one of a large number of municipalities in Poland to have declared itself a “LGBT-free zone”.

The Twinning Committee in the Cork town of Fermoy have decided to officially terminate a twinning arrangement with a town in Poland because of its anti-LGBT status.

A termination of the twinning arrangement between the two towns has been on the cards since Nowa Dęba, located a little under 200km east of Krakow in south-eastern Poland, became one of approximately 100 municipalities to declare themselves "LGBT ideology-free zones".

Such a status has been condemned as discriminatory by the European parliament and by President of the EU Commission Ursula von der Leyen, who tweeted earlier this year saying: “Our treaties ensure that every person in Europe is free to be who they are, live where they like, love who they want and aim as high as they want.”

Von der Leyen’s comments came after applications from six towns in Poland to take part in a subsidised twinning programme were rejected because of their anti-LGBT status. Poland is just one of a minority of countries in Europe not to have legalised same-sex marriage.

Earlier this year, the town of Saint-Jean-de-Braye in France also terminated its twinning arrangement with Nowa Dęba.

The decision to terminate the arrangement has been welcomed by the Cork East branch of the Social Democrats, who issued a statement on the matter on Monday.

“Poland, one of just six European countries to not yet legalise same-sex marriage designated a number of towns as “LGBT-free” in early 2019. In Ireland, we have seen real progress on social issues in recent years including marriage equality, repeal of the eighth amendment and the Gender Recognition Bill. Therefore, as a society, we are empowered to take a firm stance against the discrimination and erasure of the LGBT+ community," said Saoirse Mackin, Chairperson of Social Democrats’ Cork East branch.

Ian O’Ceallaigh, Co-Vice Chair of the branch, added: “Cork East Social Democrats believe that Fermoy’s twinning with Nowa Dęba is clearly untenable and we are glad the Twinning Committee have taken the decision to pursue a termination of the twinning agreement between the two municipalities”.