BELFAST (CelebrityAccess) — Robin Swann, the Minister of Health for Northern Ireland, has launched legal action against Van Morrison over his public comments that allegedly described Swann as “very dangerous.”
Morrison launched his criticism of Swann in June, after his performance at the Europa Hotel in Belfast was canceled at the last minute.
After the event was canceled, Morrison took to the stage, telling the audience “Robin Swann has all the power. So I say Robin Swann is very dangerous,” before he was joined by Democratic Unionist MP Ian Paisley to lead the audience in a chant of the same sentiment.
According to the Irish Times, Mr. Swann’s solicitor Paul Tweed said the legal proceedings against Morrison began in June and are now at a “very advanced stage” and he anticipates a hearing being held in early 2022.
In a statement provided to the Times, a solicitor for Mr. Morrison said:
“He is disappointed by the publicity that surrounds the issue of the proceedings also. Mr. Morrison has consistently campaigned for the relaxation of the Coronavirus Regulations, believing them to be unlawful insofar as they imposed a blanket ban on the ability of all musicians to perform live music, thereby endangering their livelihoods.
“Such was his strength of feeling on this matter that he instructed this firm in June 2021 to issue a High Court challenge to the legality of those Regulations, arguing that they were unlawful. It was only after he brought those proceedings that the Regulations were relaxed by the Assembly thereby preventing the need for a determination of the issue by the High Court.
“This firm can confirm that a Defense has been served on behalf of Mr. Morrison to the proceedings brought by Mr. Swann. Mr. Morrison asserts within that Defense that the words used by him related to a matter of public interest and constituted fair comment.”