2022 – Van Morrison takes legal action against Northern Ireland’s Minister of Health over article on COVID-19 | Van Morrison

Van Morrison has initiated legal action against the Northern Ireland Ministry of Health and its minister, Robin Swan, an opinion piece for Rolling Stone magazine.

In September 2020, Morrison released three anti-lockdown songs whose lyrics accused scientists of “fabricating crooked facts”.

“The new normal is not normal,” he sang. “We were born to be free.”

In response, Swan wrote for a US magazine, calling Morrison’s songs “slanderers” of those involved in the public health response to the virus, and highlighting the damage the musician has done to the public message surrounding Covid-19 in Northern Ireland.

In the piece, Swan expressed a “real sense of disappointment” in Morrison, whom he called a “music legend”.

“If you view all of this as a grand conspiracy,” Swan wrote, “you are unlikely to follow important public health advice that protects you and others.”

“His words will bring great comfort to conspiracy theorists – the tin brigade who is fighting masks and vaccines and believes that this is all a huge global conspiracy to take down liberties.”

Swan described Morrison’s actions as “weird and irresponsible” and said, “I hope no one takes him seriously. He’s not a teacher and he’s not a teacher.”

Morrison’s attorneys, John J. Rice and Associates, confirmed that he was taking legal action against the Department of Health and Swan, but declined to specify the reasons.

The Northern Ireland Department of Health told the BBC it would not comment on active legal issues.

Morrison’s campaign against Swan came on the heels of a Ulster Federal Party minister who brought a case against Morrison in November 2021.

In June, Morrison’s four concerts at the Hotel Europe in Belfast were canceled at the last minute due to a “total ban” on live music at licensed venues in Northern Ireland as part of coronavirus restrictions.

During a dinner at the venue, Morrison and DUP Representative Ian Beasley chanted that Swan was “very dangerous.”

After the event, Beasley said: “I certainly don’t think Robin is dangerous. I think the parody and irony of this comment is obvious. There is a balance in all of these things, sometimes we do it right and sometimes we get it wrong. We are all entitled to our own opinions on how Closure management.

The case of Swan v Morrison is also said to relate to two other incidents: an interview in which Morrison allegedly called Swan a “cheater” and a video in which he repeated the “dangerous” claim.

Morrison’s law office replied: “Mr. Morrison alleges in this defense that the words he used addressed a matter of public interest and constituted a fair comment.”

In January 2021, Morrison said he intended to ask the Belfast High Court to review the directive banning live music.

“We will be seeking judicial review to challenge the blanket ban on live music in licensed venues in Northern Ireland,” his lawyer, Joe Rice, said at the time. “We are not aware of any credible scientific or medical evidence that would justify this particular blanket ban… and we will challenge that in the Supreme Court.”

But last August, Morrison dropped the challenge.