Court Battles

Northern Ireland health minister suing Van Morrison over COVID comments

Northern Ireland’s health minister is suing singer Van Morrison for calling him “dangerous” over his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Health minister Robin Swann claims the 76-year-old musician’s public comments harmed his reputation by implying he was unfit for his position and mishandled guidance during the pandemic, according to Northern Ireland’s Sunday Life newspaper.

“Proceedings have been issued and are ongoing against Van Morrison. We are aiming for a trial in February,” Swann’s lawyer, Paul Tweed, said, per Sunday Life. Tweed has previously represented celebrities like Harrison Ford, Justin Timberlake, Jennifer Lopez and Arlene Foster.


The lawsuit revolves around three instances in which Morrison allegedly defamed Swann.  

The first was at Belfast’s Europa Hotel in June when Morrison attempted to get his fans to chant “Robin Swann is very dangerous.” This incident happened after several of the singer’s performances had been cancelled because of COVID-19 lockdowns, Sunday Life reported.

Days later at the Europa Hotel, Morrison was asked about his comments. “No, no I don’t regret it,” the singer told Sunday Life. “Of course he’s dangerous.”

“He’s a fraud, I believe he’s a fraud. Why should I regret it?” he added. “He called me dangerous and I’m calling him dangerous.”

The third incident related to content on Morrison’s YouTube channel.

Shortly after his newspaper interview, Morrison posted a YouTube video in June titled “For Clarity” to explain why he thought Swann was “dangerous.”

Morrison incorrectly referred to the health minister as “Robert Swann” in the video and said Swann “decided he wanted to get mixed up in my business.”

In the video, Morrison also said he contacted Swann roughly a year ago requesting “scientific evidence” to corroborate why live music was banned during the pandemic. 

Morrison said he would not “lie down and accept” being unable to do his job. 

The Irish singer also penned a trio of songs last year protesting the COVID lockdowns and accusing the government of “taking our freedom.”

Swann responded to those songs in an op-ed for Rolling Stone last September. “His words will give great comfort to the conspiracy theorists — the tin foil hat brigade who crusade against masks and vaccines,” the health minister wrote.


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