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Preachers sue Garda over alleged breach of religious freedom

Three evangelical preachers acquitted of breaching the peace [1] after gardai accused them of using ‘homophobic’ language are now suing the Garda and the Attorney General.

The Northern Irish men claim gardaí breached their constitutional rights to freedom of religion and association, when they were arrested in Dundalk, Co Louth on September 21st, 2021.

The men were using a speaker and microphone to preach the gospel and were handing out pamphlets detailing Bible passages.

Garda Michael Brady told the court: ‘They were saying homosexuals are going to burn in hell for ever and sodomy was a sin,’ the garda told the court.

When it was put to him that the accused enjoyed freedom of speech and association, the garda replied they were not entitled to insult or belittle others.

The court saw video footage showing of one of the men saying both homosexual and heterosexual people must repent before God. One of the men told the court he quoted from the Bible and said unrighteous people will not enter Heaven.

Judge Eirinn McKiernan said everyone is entitled to their views. She said she had doubts the men’s actions were likely to cause a breach of the peace and dismissed the charges against all three men.

The men lodged papers in the High Court in Dublin on Wednesday seeking damages and declarations that their rights were infringed during the Dundalk incident.