Irish Minister of State for European Affairs 'extremely concerned' at anti-LGBT+ movement in Poland

The Minister said that he will continue to work "at EU level to promote and protect the rights of LGBTI+ communities across the EU and beyond."

minister poland the shadow of police officers covers what is left of a road covered in chalk paint creating a rainbow flag

The Minister of State for European Affairs, Thomas Byrne, has addressed the ongoing discrimination against the LGBT+ community in Poland reaffirming Ireland’s commitment to LGBT+ rights.

In a thread on Twitter, Mr Byrne said that “a number of town twinning applications from Poland were recently rejected due to resolutions adopted by the local authorities.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs Simon Coveney added to the conversation saying “ensuring equality and non-discrimination is a core part of EU values.”

Minister for Equality Roderic O’Gorman said that he has discussed the issue with Minister Coveney and that he looks forward to working with him and Minister Byrne on it.

The Ministers’ comments come following an appeal from LGBT Ireland for the Irish Government to address the situation in Poland.

A further call for action came this morning from the Polish LGBT+ community in Ireland who appealed to Minister Coveney to “help protect the rights of LGBT+ people in Poland”.

Over 50 LGBT+ Polish people in Ireland signed the letter which asks the Minister to raise the issue with the Polish Ambassador in Ireland, liaise with the Irish Embassy in Poland and to raise the issue at the next meeting of Foreign Affairs Ministers in the EU.

The signatures have not been published due to privacy and safety concerns.

“Ireland has been our home for many years and for many of use, it is the place where we can be truly ourselves.

“The recent events in Poland, however, affect us deeply and we are concerned about the safety and well-being of our friends and families back home.

“To be truly safe, we need our rights to be fully respected both in Ireland and Poland.”

Over the past two years, the rise in homophobic discourse in Poland has resulted in over a third of the country declaring itself an ‘LGBT+ free zone’.

Bishops in Poland have released a 27-page document detailing their stance on LGBT+ people. In this document, they called for ‘clinics’ to be established for LGBT+ people to “regain their natural sexual orientation”.

These ‘clinics’ would act as conversion therapy camps, a practice that has been widely condemned by leading medical groups, including the World Psychiatric Association and the Irish Council of Psychotherapy.

They further state that LGBT+ people need to respect “the rights of other members of society, especially their religious feelings, moral principles and the principles of public order.”

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In July, the European Commission announced that they will freeze funding for those ‘LGBT+ free zones’.

This rhetoric is echoed by President Duda whos right-wing party PiS has been chipping away at LGBT+ rights since they came into power.

Duda was re-elected in July by a slim margin, but those who could avail of a postal vote in Ireland overwhelmingly supported his more liberal rival.

The Polish embassy in Ireland stated that 77% of Polish people living in this country who submitted a postal vote in the election were in favour of Trzaskowski becoming President.

This sway toward the more liberal candidate was reflected across the world as data showed the majority of postal votes were in his favour.

While discussions have begun at Irish government level, any action beyond that has yet to be announced.

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