Van Morrison sued by Northern Ireland Secretary of State for Health

Singer Van Morrison is being sued for defamation by the Northern Irish Secretary of State for Health, Robin Swann, whose anti-Covid health policy he sharply criticized.

According to the weekly Sunday Life, who reported the case on Sunday, the lawsuits relate in particular to a high-profile incident that took place in June 2021, when the creator of Gloria chanted on stage at the Hotel Arena in Belfast: “Robin Swann is very dangerous”.

Several incidents

The artist was speaking after the last minute cancellation, due to pandemic restrictions, of a concert he was scheduled to participate in. The video of this speech had gone viral. The lawsuits also relate to two later incidents: an interview in which the singer had called Robin Swann a “crook” and the uploading of a song in which he addresses the incident at the Hotel Arena, and again qualifies the minister of “dangerous”.

“We are targeting a trial in February,” said Paul Tweed, counsel for the Secretary of State, at Sunday Life.

Controversial positions

In January 2021, Van Morrison threatened to take legal action against the ban on live music in bars in Northern Ireland, which like every British nation sets its own health policy vis-à-vis the pandemic. The 76-year-old singer claimed it was based on “no scientific or medical evidence.” In August 2020, he had already created controversy by denouncing the “pseudoscience” which, according to him, surrounds the coronavirus.

The following month, he announced the release of three songs in which he denounces confinement as liberticide and affirms that scientists “invent twisted facts” to justify these restrictions which “enslave” the population. For his part, in an interview with the magazine Rolling Stones, Robin Swann had considered that these songs were “bizarre and irresponsible”, affirming that they brought “a great comfort to the partisans of the theory of the conspiracy”.

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