The Northern Island health minister sued Van Morrison, who said the minister’s handling of the Covid-19 restrictions was “very dangerous.”
Paul Tweed, the lawyer for Health Minister Robin Swann, confirmed on Monday that a lawsuit had been filed.
“The legal proceedings are now in an advanced stage, with an anticipated hearing date of early 2022,” Tweed said in an email, adding that he could not comment “further at this stage.” the Belfast Telegraph reported the lawsuit Sunday.
Morrison’s attorney Joe Rice did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday. He said The Associated Press that Mr. Morrison would challenge the assertion, arguing “that the words used by him referred to a matter of public interest and constituted a fair comment.”
In June, Morrison denied that Swann took the stage of the Europa Hotel in Belfast after several other concerts were canceled due to virus restrictions.
Morrison, 76, born in Belfast and gentleman in 2016, it has ruled out the coronavirus pandemic, whose death toll exceeded five million people last week, as a media hype and has criticized the Covid-19 restrictions through his music.
In the fall of 2020, as another wave of the pandemic unleashed, Morrison released three protest songs criticizing measures the Northern Ireland government had taken to curb the spread of the virus. One song, “No More Lockdown,” claimed that scientists were “making up false facts” about the virus.
At the time, Swann said the songs were “dangerous.” in an interview with BBC Radio Ulster.
“I don’t know where he got his data from,” Swann said of the songs. “I know where the emotions are in this, but I will say that that kind of message is dangerous.”
The songs also prompted Mr. Swann to write an opinion piece for Rolling Stone in which he said that Mr. Morrison’s words “will give great comfort to conspiracy theorists.”
In August, Mr. Morrison withdrew a legal challenge against a “total ban” on live music at licensed venues on Northern Island, according to the BBC. As Northern Ireland eased Covid-19 restrictions, live music was allowed to resume.
Morrison welcomed the news at the time, but also said he was disappointed to have to cancel some concerts in Belfast over the summer.
In MayMorrison, known for hits like “Brown Eyed Girl” and “Moondance”, released a double album, “Latest Record Project, Vol. 1”. The album, including the songs “Why are you on Facebook?” and “They Control the Media” has come under fire from critics who have accused Mr. Morrison of antisemitism other embracing conspiracy theories.