Gospel Preachers on Trial in Ireland

Gospel Preachers on Trial in Ireland

Three street preachers from Northern Ireland have been arrested in Dundalk, in the Republic of Ireland. after preaching against homosexuality and are due to appear at the town’s district court on public order offences.

The three men were using a public address system to preach in Dundalk when they were approached by three Garda (Irish police) officers.

One officer challenged them for preaching against homosexuality and they are asking to stop preaching, but refuse and are arrested.

Ryan Williamson, 44, and Robert Ervine, 34, both from Loughbrickland in Co Down, and Sean Paul Tully, 43, from west Belfast, were all handcuffed and taken into Dundalk Garda station where they were held for several hours before being released.

All three have since been charged and are due to appear before Dundalk District Court on the 13 October.

Businessman Mr Williamson was also arrested in Larne by Northern Irish PSNI in August, also after preaching against homosexuality.He told the Belfast News Letter: “I think what happened in Dundalk is just the same as before, people are weaponising the police against us with complaints. The Garda told us we could not preach against homosexuality but that is what the bible says and that is why we preach it.”

Dundalk solicitor Ciaran Mullholland of Mullholland Law, who is acting for the three men, said: “I have made representations to the Superintendent to withdraw and discontinue the prosecution.”

The solicitor added: “A complaint has also been filed with the Garda Síochána Ombudsman Commission. In my view it just epitomises over-zealous policing. From what I am aware there has been no official statement of complaint made against the three individuals.” Mr Mullholland also said that in his view, the Irish constitution gave the three men freedom to carry out their actions.

Mr Williamson has said they have been preaching in various towns across Northern Ireland for 13 years. However he says that in the past twelve months the PSNI have begun approaching them on a regular basis asking them to stop preaching against homosexuality.