Dundalk court case opens against NI men preaching against homosexuality
A Loughbrickland preacher says he will never retract any of his comments on homosexuality, as a court case against him begins today in Dundalk District Court.
Three open air preachers from NI were arrested by Garda in Dundalk on 21 September after being warned to stop preaching on homosexuality. When they declined, 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 and charged with public order offences.
Speaking to the News Letter last night, Ryan Williamson said he would not consider retracting any of his preaching.
“That is out of the question - I can’t retract it, it is God’s word,” he said. Asked if he would return to Dundalk if he is convicted, he would not rule it out. “I will go anywhere the Lord is leading me.”
He has been preaching in the town for about two years.
“Generally the feedback is very good. It would be one of my favourite places for preaching. There seem to be quite a few nationalities there and amongst them, quite a few fervent Christians who support us.”
“Although in every town there are those that really hate it, then there are those that are neutral.”
He also defended himself from claims on social media that he had been preaching that children with disabilities are a judgement from God.
“I have never heard anyone preaching that and if anyone did in my company I would certainly have words with them,” he said. He also insists that he is not fixated on preaching about sexuality.
“I would only spend about 2-5% of my time preaching on it. I was preaching in Banbridge yesterday and never mentioned it. But if I am preaching in Belfast and there is an LGBT protest against us, then I would normally explain from the bible why it is wrong and why Christians hold that view.”
His solicitor, Ciaran Mulholland of Mulholland law in Dundalk, said that due to Covid restrictions, the three men will not need to appear in court in person today.
He had previously written to the Garda to press them to withdraw the charges. “It is most unfortunate that the superintendent has not responded to the representations made with regards to the legality of the prosecution,” he said last night.
Mr Williamson has been preaching across NI for over a decade, but claims the PSNI has been increasingly confronting him about his comments on homosexuality in the past 12 months. In August he was arrested by the PSNI in Larne after refusing to stop preaching. He was released pending a report to the PPS.
A message from the Editor:
Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.
With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive - we are more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription.
Subscribe to newsletter.co.uk and enjoy unlimited access to the best Northern Ireland and UK news and information online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Visit https://www.newsletter.co.uk/subscriptions now to sign up.
Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to help to support them. By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.