Political parties’ turnaround on permits for preachers after complaints over LGBT comments and abortion posters

Complaints have been made to Belfast City Council about street preachers in the city center.

Last month, all parts of the council’s policy and strategic resources committee agreed to approve draft exemption laws that would oblige preachers, protesters, street musicians and anyone else using systems to amplification in the wider city center to apply for a permit or receive a fine of £ 500 by the PSNI. or council agents. Anyone setting up stands with leaflets without a permit would also incur the same fines.

But after a heated debate in full council on Monday night, all parties were once again unanimous – but this time the implementing bill, which came from the Green Party, needed further consideration at the committee level.

PUP adviser John Kyle said the proposals were strongly opposed by DUP, People Before Profit and PUP. “But it was ultimately accepted by all parties that there were significant issues with this, especially with the restriction of freedom of expression,” he said. “What emerged was that some parties believed permits were necessary due to the perceived abuse the LGBT community was receiving from some preachers and also graphic images used by anti-abortion protesters.”

Register now to our daily newsletter

The newsletter i cut through the noise

DUP Alderman Brian Kingston initially supported the proposals to protect downtown commercial life. However, last night he said his party “remains to be convinced” that the existing legislation is not sufficient to solve the problems. “There are many concerns that a noise nuisance system could be used in an attempt to censor,” he added.

Green Councilor Mal O’Hara said any changes to the regulations would only take place after public consultation. “We are concerned that graphic imagery and extremist preachers will make our downtown area unwelcoming, and it is right that the statutes of the Council be adapted to address this problem,” he added. “We had our own concerns that the initial proposals were too broad, and we hope for a more nuanced approach to amending the statutes. We look forward to finding the right balance between rights and responsibilities to make the city a safe space for all ”.

A message from the editor:

Thanks for reading this story on our site. While I have your attention, I also have an important request for you.

With the coronavirus lockdown having a major impact on many of our advertisers – and therefore the revenue we receive – we are more dependent than ever on your getting a digital subscription.

Subscribe to newsletter.co.uk and enjoy unlimited access to the best news and information from Northern Ireland and the UK online and on our app. With a digital subscription, you can read more than 5 articles, see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and access exclusive newsletters and content. Visit https://www.newsletter.co.uk/subscriptions now to register.

Our journalism costs money and we rely on advertising, print and digital revenues to support them. By supporting us we are able to help you provide reliable and verified content for this website.

About Larry Struck

Larry Struck

Check Also

Springfield improves LGBT equality score, but still below average

“A little sad,” is how Nick Clinton-Elliott, executive director of the GLO Center in Springfield, …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *