Robin Swann, the Northern Ireland health minister, has initiated legal proceedings against Sir Van Morrison, after the singer labelled him “very dangerous” over his handling of NI covid restrictions.
In June earlier of this year, Van Morrison chanted the “very dangerous” comments during a dinner at the Europa Hotel in Belfast. Van Morrison, an outspoken critic of the covid restrictions, accused the government of “taking our freedom” in three new songs that protested against the covid lockdown last year. It is also understood that two other incidents, in which the singer allegedly referred to Mr Swann as a “fraud” during a media interview, and an online video by Sir Van where he repeated the “dangerous” claim.
The singer took to the stage at a dinner event in June 2021, and was controversially joined for the chant by DUP MP Ian Paisley. Mr Paisley later defended his actions by saying “what was parody, comedy, banter and sarcasm should not be blown out of all proportion”. Stating he had been “put on the spot” and that he certainly did not believe that Mr Swann was dangerous.
In august 2021, Morrison dropped legal challenge of his own against a blanket ban on live music in licensed venues because of coronavirus restrictions, following a decision by the Stormont Executive to allow live music to resume as it eased its restrictions.
Robin Swann’s solicitor Paul Tweed said that proceedings were at an “advanced stage” with a hearing expected in early 2022. Mr Swann said that if the singer had scientific facts to back his claims, he should present them, describing the songs as dangerous.
Watch the video of the controversial chant in question here: