AN American preacher who praised the killing of 49 people at a Florida gay bar three years ago has become the first person ever to be banned from entering Ireland.
Steven L. Anderson, a Baptist pastor based in Arizona, previously lauded the terrorist behind the mass shooting at Pulse nightclub in Orlando on June 12, 2016 – and told his congregation in 2009 that he prayed for the death of then-President Barack Obama.
Anderson also denies that the Holocaust ever happened, describing Jews as "Antichrists" and homosexuals as "abominations which God punishes with the death penalty".
The homophobic anti-Semite had reportedly been due to travel to Ireland on May 26 to preach to an unspecified congregation in Dublin – with over 14,000 people signing a petition calling for him to be barred.
On Sunday, Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan signed an order to effectively ban Anderson from entering the country under the Immigration Act of 1999 – marking the first time the powers have been used since the law was enacted.
Section 4 of the Act allows the Irish Government to sign an exclusion order if it "considers it necessary in the interest of national security or public policy".
Minister Flanagan said he "signed the exclusion order under my executive powers in the interests of public policy," but declined to comment further.
Anderson, 38, had already been banned from the 26 EU countries in the Schengen Area as well as the UK, Canada, South Africa, Jamaica and Malawi.
The father-of-ten set up the 'Faithful Word Baptist Church' on Christmas Day, 2005 – preaching a literal belief in the King James Version of the Bible.
His biography states that he holds no college degree but has "well over 140 chapters of the Bible memorized word-for-word, including approximately half of the New Testament."