Northern Ireland Health Minister Robin Swann is suing Van Morrison for defamation after the singer accused him of being “very dangerous” over his handling of COVID-19 restrictions.
Swann’s legal action focuses on a highly publicized incident at the Europa Hotel in Belfast in June when Morrison, an outspoken critic of COVID-19 restrictions, criticized Swann on stage after the last-minute cancellation of his show.
Democratic Unionist Member of Parliament Ian Paisley joined Swann for the chants on stage, which he described as “parody, comedy, banter, and sarcasm” that “should not be blown out of all proportion.”
Morrison’s criticisms of COVID-19 restrictions were particularly on those that prevented live music performances.
Renowned libel lawyer Paul Tweed is representing Swann in the proceedings.
“Proceedings are at an advanced stage with an anticipated hearing date early in 2022,” Tweed said.
The High Court proceedings also include two other subsequent incidents of Morrison elaborating his views on Swann.
In an interview with a reporter from newspaper Sunday Life, Morrison reportedly described Swann as a “fraud.”
Then, Morrison uploaded content on Youtube to address the Europa Hotel incident, further criticizing Swann and calling him “dangerous.”
Although in the Youtube videos, Morrison incorrectly referred to the health minister as “Robert Swann.”
Morrison also released new songs that were against the COVID-19 lockdown, which included lyrics that claim that scientists were “making up crooked facts.”
Swann described Morrison’s claims in the songs as “bizarre and irresponsible” in a piece written for magazine Rolling Stone.
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