9 November 2023
The Lord Mayor of Cork Cllr. Kieran McCarthy was joined by Polish Ambassador to Ireland Dr. Arkady Rzegocki and members of Cork’s Polish community to celebrate Polish Independence Day at City Hall, Cork on Thursday 9 November.
The Lord Mayor raised the Polish flag at a ceremony at City Hall as a sign of unity with the Polish community and in commemoration of the 105th anniversary of the restoration of Poland's independence.
For the seventh year in a row, the charity Together-Razem Centre, supported by Cork City Council's Social Inclusion Unit and The Embassy of Poland in Dublin, organised 'The Polish Independence Day' celebrations.
In acknowledging the contribution the Polish community have made to Cork City, the Lord Mayor expressed “(his) warmest gratitude for the positive impact, culturally, economically and socially, the Polish community have contributed to Cork City. We stand collectively to celebrate the value of independence.”
Joanna Kossykowska, Together-Razem interim CEO, said “On this important day for the Polish, we should unite. We have invited the Ukrainian people of Cork to celebrate with us. We cannot forget they too are fighting to keep their own independence.” Quoting Wladyslaw Anders, she said, "Let's throw away everything that divides us and take everything that unites us in work and in the fight for Poland's freedom and independence."
Independence Day was celebrated together with other Polish organisations operating in Cork. Together-Razem invited "My Cork", "Polish Scouts", and a representative of the "Irish-Polish Society". The flag raising ceremony was followed by a performance of Polish patriotic songs by children from the Razem Academy, an extracurricular educational project run by Together-Razem.
According to the latest Census 2022, around 11,000 Polish people live in Cork City and County, which makes them the largest migrant minority group in Cork. The Polish community is vibrant and active, with Polish clubs and groups, schools, shops, and small businesses located throughout the city and county. Their culture, language, and traditions add to the life of Cork while also contributing to the social and cultural fabric of Irish society.
On November 11, 1918, Poland regained its independence after the First World War, and, similarly to the Irish, the Polish are very proud of their heritage and history.
Together-Razem, the event's main organiser, has been assisting Polish and East-Central European migrants since 2006, offering them a wide range of services to help them integrate better into Irish society while maintaining respect and memory of their roots and traditions. Since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Together-Razem also provide essential services in a newly set up hub dedicated to the Ukrainian refugees. The Together4Ukraine hub in located in Blackpool Community Centre.