Irish Health Minister sues Van Morrison over COVID-19 criticism
Northern Ireland’s Minister of Health filed a complaint after Van Morrison accused him of mismanaging the COVID-19 pandemic and repeatedly called him “dangerous”.
Robin Swann’s attorney, Paul Tweed, said the case would go to court in early 2022. “Legal proceedings have been initiated and are ongoing against Van Morrison,” Tweed told the Belfast Telegraph‘s Sunday life. “We are targeting a trial in February.” Neither Morrison nor a spokesperson have yet publicly responded to the lawsuit.
Tweed has also represented Harrison Ford, Justin Timberlake and Jennifer Lopez. He claims that Morrison’s blunt accusations damaged Swann’s official reputation by suggesting that he was unable to fill his post. The libel lawsuit specifically refers to three specific incidents in which Morrison directly criticized Swann and suggested he was misleading the public.
Morrison took aim at Swann last June after an event at the Europa Hotel in Belfast was suddenly canceled due to pandemic restrictions. “Robin Swann has all the power,” Morrison told the audience at the time. “So I say Robin Swann is very dangerous.” He then led the crowd in a chant of “Robin Swann is very dangerous.”
A few days later, a Sunday life the reporter asked Morrison about his comment. “No, no, I don’t regret it. Of course he’s dangerous, “Morrison said.” He’s an impostor. I believe he is an impostor. Why should I regret it? “
A video was also uploaded to Morrison’s YouTube channel titled “For Clarity,” intended to address the controversy. In the clip, he criticized Swann again and deemed him “dangerous”.
Swann wrote a rebuttal editorial in September for Rolling stone, arguing that “Governments around the world are struggling to find the right path through this pandemic. It is entirely fair and appropriate to debate and question policies. It is legitimate to wonder if the right balance is found in what is done; if the right steps are taken, but none of it is simple or straightforward.
“But Van Morrison goes far beyond raising questions,” Swann added, noting the various anti-lockout songs Morrison wrote and released during the pandemic. “His words will bring great solace to conspiracy theorists – the tin-foil hat brigade that fights masks and vaccines and thinks this is all a huge global conspiracy to suppress freedoms.”
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