Northern Ireland health minister to sue Van Morrison over Covid remarks

1 year ago 134

Northern Ireland’s wellness curate is suing Van Morrison aft the vocalist accused him of being “very dangerous” implicit his handling of Covid restrictions.

Robin Swann’s ineligible enactment relates to a well-publicised quality by the instrumentalist astatine the Europa edifice successful Belfast successful June. Morrison criticised the Ulster Unionist enactment curate aft the last-minute cancellation of his show.

Video of the incidental went viral aft Morrison called the Democratic Unionist MP Ian Paisley connected to the signifier to articulation him successful chants. Paisley has since described it arsenic “parody” and said helium did not judge Swann was dangerous.

Four gigs scheduled by Morrison, including 1 astatine the Europa hotel, were cancelled astatine the 11th hr arsenic unrecorded euphony was inactive not permitted nether Covid restrictions. The absorption of the edifice blamed disorder by Stormont ministers for the precocious notice, believing they had been fixed the greenish airy to proceed.

A fewer weeks later, Morrison said helium would situation the Northern Irish authorities successful tribunal implicit its “blanket ban” connected unrecorded euphony successful licensed venues.

According to reports, Swann began defamation proceedings earlier this twelvemonth that besides mention 2 consequent incidents erstwhile the vocalist elaborated connected his views connected Swann.

In the first, helium was asked by a Sunday Life paper newsman astir his archetypal comments connected Swann. Morrison was reported to person described the curate arsenic a “fraud”. The 2nd relates to contented Morrison uploaded to YouTube successful which helium addressed the Europa edifice controversy. In that video, helium again criticises the curate and calls him “dangerous”, albeit referring to him incorrectly arsenic “Robert Swann”.

Swann has hired the libel lawyer Paul Tweed, who has represented well-known figures including Harrison Ford, Justin Timberlake, Jennifer Lopez and Arlene Foster. He precocious won a colony for the erstwhile Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams implicit a libel enactment against the Sunday World paper successful Ireland.

Proceedings were “at an precocious signifier with a proceeding expected to beryllium listed successful aboriginal 2022”, Tweed said.

Swann’s enactment emerged aft it was disclosed in the Sunday Life connected Sunday. It is understood Swann’s ineligible squad sent a writ to the vocalist successful June and followed that up with a elaborate connection of assertion successful September. Morrison’s lawyers are understood to person responded to the assertion past month.

The Europa edifice incidental unfolded erstwhile Morrison complained Swann had “all the power” implicit the entertainer’s quality to execute gigs. He pulled up Paisley to articulation him successful chants astir the wellness minister.

Swann said Paisley subsequently apologised for the incidental and it is understood the curate is not taking ineligible enactment against the North Antrim MP.

The Belfast-born vocalist has been an ardent professional of coronavirus restrictions, peculiarly those that prevented unrecorded euphony performances. He recorded a fig of anti-lockdown songs past twelvemonth that helium said were aimed astatine the UK government. The lyrics included claims that scientists were “making up crooked facts” to warrant restrictions that “enslave” the population.

Swann subsequently responded to those songs successful a portion written for Rolling Stone magazine. In that op-ed, the wellness curate described the singer’s claims arsenic “bizarre and irresponsible”. He said immoderate of what helium was claiming was “actually dangerous” and would supply “great comfortableness to the conspiracy theorists”.

Morrison’s lawyers person been approached for comment.