Fermoy issues ultimatum to Polish twinned town over anti-LGBT stance

By Sean O'Riordan
Defence Correspondent

Fermoy Municipal District Council is to issue an ultimatum to its Polish twinned area to backtrack on discriminating against the LGBT community, or it will sever all ties with it.

When Fermoy Municipal District Council reconvenes its meetings, the first thing it will do is to write to the municipal district in the town of Nowa Deba, in northern Poland, which has declared itself an "LGBT-Free Zone”. The two towns have been twinned since 2006.

The Fermoy council was supposed to debate the issue this week, but had to postpone the meeting due to the coronoavirus.

Cllr Noel McCarthy said the local twinning committee “was an agent of the council” and therefore the local authority was going to take a lead on the matter.

He has already gained support for the move from the majority of his council colleagues.

Cllr Noel McCarthy
Cllr Noel McCarthy

“I will be asking our municipal district council to write to the Polish municipal council and demand an answer. In the meantime I want to suspend the town twinning arrangement with them,” Mr McCarthy said.

If they don’t reply positively then we will immediately terminate the twinning arrangement, which our municipal district council funds.

At present, there are no plans to hold any twinning gathering this summer between Fermoy and Nowa Deba.

The municipal district of Nowa Deba has a population of around 11,000 people, which is around the same size as the Fermoy municipal.

“What they have done in my opinion is a very backward step. No section of the community should be discriminated against. We must respect the rights of all people,” Mr McCarthy said.

Recently around 100 Polish municipal districts decided to adopt an anti-LGBT status. They govern an area roughly the size of Hungary.

"The European Parliament condemned the Polish reaction and I can tell you there are many people in the Fermoy area who were shocked by what the Polish municipal districts did," Mr McCarthy said.

Fermoy is also twinned with Ploemeur in north-western France. Contacts between the two towns began in 1982 and their twinning arrangement has been considered on both sides as one of the most successful to have been formed between Ireland and France.

Mr McCarthy said his motion is due to be discussed at the next Fermoy Municipal District Council meeting, but he could not say when that might take place as it would depend on the Covid-19 crisis.

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