A controversial US preacher who denies the holocaust and promotes anti-LGBT rhetoric has been barred from speaking in Ireland.

Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan signed the exclusion order preventing Steven Anderson – or Pastor Steven L Anderson - from travelling here.

In a statement, Minister Flanagan said: "I have signed the exclusion order under my executive powers in the interests of public policy."

A provision under the 1999 Immigration Act allows the minister of the day, if they consider it necessary in the interests of national security or public policy, to bar somebody from the State.

It is the first time a person time a person has been excluded from Ireland under the 1999 Act.

Mr Anderson, a pastor from Arizona, runs the Faithful Word Baptist church.

In 2016 he was deported from Botswana having been declared a "prohibited immigrant" following an interview on a popular radio station in which he said gay people should be killed.

He also previously called for the death of former US president Barack Obama  

Group Political Editor for the Independent Group Kevin Doyle said a number of online petitions have garnered thousands of signatures against the preacher's visit.

He was due to come to Dublin on 26 May to give a sermon.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, Mr Doyle said a recent video posted by Mr Anderson told those interested to meet near Dublin Airport and from there they would be brought to a secret venue "so that gives you the underground element to all of this".

The Irish Council for Civil Liberties has called on Minister Flanagan to outline the reasons why he has banned Mr Anderson.

The group said more information about how this decision was made is needed. 

LGBT Ireland, a group involved in organising a petition calling for Mr Anderson to be banned, has welcomed the decision.

However the group's CEO, Paula Fagan, said it would like to see new robust legislation around hate speech and hate crime.