An American preacher who praised the killing of 49 people at a Florida gay bar has become the first person ever to be banned from entering Ireland.
Steven L Anderson is a Baptist preacher from Arizona, who is renowned for his homophobic and anti-Semitic comments and attitudes.
He gained publicity in 2009 by telling his congregation he was praying for the death of the then-President Barack Obama.
He gained more recognition when he praised the gunman who killed 49 people at a gay club in Florida in 2016.
Mr Anderson is a preacher whose church has a literal belief of the King James version of the bible.
In the past, he has publicly denied the Holocaust ever happened, and described homosexuality as “abominations which God punishes with the death penalty”.
He had planned to come to Ireland to preach to a congregation at Dublin according to his website, but Irish officials has moved to block any visit.
The move follows public pressure after an online petition was signed by more than 14,000 to not allow Mr Anderson into the country.
It is the first time Ireland has exercised its right to ban a foreign visitor entering the country, part of the Immigration Act from 1999.
Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan was one of the signatories of the petition, saying he considered it “necessary in the interest of national security or public policy”.
The Irish ban on Mr Anderson follows similar moves from other countries including the UK, the Netherlands, Canada, South Africa, Jamaica and Malawi.
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