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Anti-gay US preacher banned from entering Ireland

Baptist pastor Steven Anderson has become the first person ever to be barred from entering Ireland under exclusion powers created in 1999.

The controversial American preacher had planned to hold a sermon in Dublin on May 26th, but under Section 4 of the Immigration Act 1999, Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan signed an exclusion order “in the interests of public policy.” This follows a petition which called on the government to do as much, gaining over 14,000 signatures. Anderson, who described the victims of a 2016 shooting in a gay club in Orland as “disgusting paedophiles and perverts”, has also been accused of spouting anti-Semitic rhetoric in his sermons, conflating the persecution of the Jewish people with “the judgement of God.” His church, the Faithful Word Baptist Church, has previously released statements which have been described as promoting holocaust denial. The church has also been labeled a hate group by a number of watchdog groups in the United States.

It is understood that the Dublin sermon was to be part of a wider European tour which had also included visits to Sweden and the Netherlands. However, Dutch security minister Mark Harbers announced earlier this month that Anderson had been banned from the Schengen Zone, the area in which the European Union accommodates for travel between member states.

Anderson has also previously been banned from the United Kingdom, South Africa and faced deportation from Botswana in 2016 following comments he made on the radio claiming that gay people should be killed.

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