- 08 Nov 21
Morrison referred to Robin Swann as "very dangerous" in an anti-lockdown rant in Belfast over the summer.
Van Morrison has been sued by Northern Ireland's health secretary over comments made earlier this year relating to Robin Swann's Covid-19 response.
During a pre-show dinner event in Belfast in June 11th, Morrison labelled minister Robin Swann “very dangerous” in an anti-lockdown rant. The comments were made in a response to Swann criticising the singer for his anti-lockdown stance in 2020, in which he said Morrison’s words “will give great comfort to the conspiracy theorists”.
Swann’s lawyer Paul Tweed told BBC that legal proceedings are “at an advanced stage” and that it expects the case to go to court in early 2022.
In response, representatives for Morrison said the musician “regrets that Mr Swann considered it necessary to issue proceedings”.
The lawyers added that they were “disappointed by the publicity that surrounds the issue of the proceedings”.
Regarding a planned defence for the singer, they said: “Mr Morrison asserts within that defence that the words used by him related to a matter of public interest and constituted fair comment.”
The court proceedings reportedly also include two other incidents in addition to the pre-dinner event in Glasgow, including a separate time that Morrison called Swann “dangerous” - an alleged reference to Swann as a “fraud” from the singer.
Van Morrison has protested Covid-19 restrictions on multiple anti-lockdown songs since the pandemic began, the latest of which featured Eric Clapton. He has also dubbed socially distanced gigs “pseudo-science”, urging other musicians and promoters to “speak up”.
In January 2021, the singer announced that he was planning a legal challenge after Northern Ireland banned live performances in an attempt to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
The legal action was dropped in August when live music returned to the country after restrictions were dropped. He was slated to perform at Ulster Music Hall last July.
Revisit Morrison's 75th birthday interview with Hot Press from summer 2020 here.