Van Morrison has started legal proceedings against Northern Ireland’s Department Of Health and its minister, Robin Swann.
In a statement to BBC News NI, Morrison’s spokesperson said: “We confirm that legal proceedings have been issued against Mr Robin Swann MLA and the Department Of Health.”
In September 2020, Morrison announced plans to release three songs (‘No More Lockdown’, ‘Born to Be Free’ and ‘As I Walked Out’) in opposition to the government’s coronavirus restrictions. In ‘No More Lockdown’, Morrison reportedly claims scientists were “making up crooked facts” and likens the government to “fascist bullies”.
In response, Swann wrote a piece for Rolling Stone that said “there’s a real feeling of disappointment – we expected better from him.
“It’s entirely right and proper to debate and question policies. It’s legitimate to ask if the right balance is being found in what is being done; if the right steps are being taken. None of this is easy or straightforward,” he continued.
“But Van Morrison is going way beyond raising questions. He is singing about ‘fascist bullies’ and claiming governments are deceiving people and wanting to ‘enslave’ It’s actually a smear on all those involved in the public health response to a virus that has taken lives on a massive scale.”
“His words will give great comfort to the conspiracy theorists – the tin foil hat brigade who crusade against masks and vaccines and think this is all a huge global plot to remove freedoms,” he added.
In January 2021, Van Morrison reportedly started legal action against the Department Of Health over live music restrictions, before he dropped the proceedings a few months later.
He also chanted “Robin Swann is dangerous” during a bizarre anti-lockdown rant, which led to Swann taking legal action against Morrison.
Northern Ireland’s Health Department told the BBC it would not comment on active legal matters.