The town of Fermoy in Co Cork has cut ties with its Polish twin, Nowa Deba, over a motion opposing "LGBT ideology".

All six councillors in Fermoy voted to sever the town's 14-year relationship with the eastern Polish town, which had included exchange visits and cultural events, said Councillor Noel McCarthy who proposed the vote.

"We terminated because we felt that their local authority had discriminated against the LGBT community," Mr McCarthy said, referring to a motion passed by Nowa Deba in 2019.

"We have nothing against the twinning committee of Nowa Deba or the mayor, for that matter, we just feel that we couldn't be associated with a town that does not change their stance on their LGBT+ community."

Officials in Nowa Deba did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Gay, bisexual and trans rights have become a divisive issue in Poland since 2019 when the ruling nationalist Law and Justice (PiS) said in election campaigns, laced with homophobic rhetoric, that they undermined traditional family values.

International criticism has been growing of nearly 100 Polish municipalities - dubbed "LGBT-free zones" by activists - that have passed resolutions against "LGBT ideology" in the last year, with several European towns ending twinning relationships.

The European Union has rejected six town-twinning applications involving Polish authorities that adopted such motions, although they appear not to have been followed by discriminatory legislation against LGBT+ residents.

Nowa Deba's 2019 resolution pledged to "defend our tradition, culture and religion against aggressive, deceptive and harmful LGBT ideology", according to the Atlas of Hate, a map created by local activists which tracks "LGBT-free zones".

Polish government officials have said discrimination is not tolerated in the east European country, but LGBT+ activists say the symbolic motions allow homophobia to flourish.