Dublin: A controversial anti-gay and anti-Semitic US preacher has become the first person to be banned from Ireland under a 20-year-old Act, a media report said on Monday.

Steven Anderson, a pastor from Arizona, runs the Faithful Word Baptist church, the BBC reported. His website claimed that he was due to preach in Dublin on May 26. However, an online petition calling for Anderson to be banned from Ireland was created in response, and gained 14,000 signatures.

Irish Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan signed an exclusion order for Anderson with immediate effect under the Immigration Act 1999. It is the first time an exclusion order has been granted since the creation of the act 20 years ago.

Flanagan said he had signed the order "under my executive powers in the interests of public policy".

Anderson has previously called for the death of former US President Barack Obama and praised the gunman who killed 49 people in an attack on a gay nightclub in Florida in 2016. He has been banned from a number of countries, including the UK. (IANS)

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