A judge has prohibited a street preacher from delivering open-air sermons in Wexford after multiple complaints of his homophobic, racist, and anti-aboriton views.
Local traders told Wexford District Court that they were losing business because customers were driven away by the preacher’s sermons. One witness said he would speak twice a day for two hours at a time.
Seven witnesses filed complaints against Wexford based street preacher Stephen Tallon, aged 37. Five adult behaviour orders have been served to him since June but these did not deter him from delivering his sermons.
One person described Tallon as the ‘Rasputin of The Bull Ring’ because he showed no regard for sensitivities. However, the defendant claimed he had a right to free speech.
A local shop worker stated that the sight of Tallon caused her stress. She said, “He is affecting my health. It is unbearable. I seem to be constantly complaining about him. I have a hotline to the garda station.”
Garda Superintendent Jim Doyle sought an order to ban Tallon from delivering his sermons. Wexford District Court was submitted evidence regarding homophobic, racist, and anti-abortion subject matter in his speeches.
During the court hearing, Garda Ciara Hayes submitted evidence that her previous dealings with Tallon were recorded by him. The defendant denied claims that he was taping their conversations.
After a businessman complained about Tallon speaking “homophobic nonsense” in public, Garda Richard Murray went to speak with the street preacher. The man read a passage from Leviticus in response.
Tallon claimed street preaching was “a cornerstone of our society. People are entitled to hear the gospel.” He retained that he should be free to speak in public.
Judge John Cheatle delivered an order prohibiting Tallon from street preaching in Wexford. The judge further instructed the superintendent to not hesitate in raising with him any breach to this order.
The judge told the street preacher, “You have to desist.”
© 2020 GCN (Gay Community News). All rights reserved.
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