Northern Ireland’s health minister Robin Swann has filed a defamation lawsuit against Van Morrison, who criticized his handling of Covid-19 restrictions and branded him “very dangerous.”
According to Swann’s solicitor Paul Tweed, proceedings were “at an advanced stage” and a hearing is expected in early 2022.
Morrison came out with his critical comment during a dinner event at Belfast’s Europa Hotel in June, when he addressed about 140 people after his gig was cancelled amid Covid-19 restrictions.
Swann has called claims made by Morrison, “bizarre and irresponsible” while challenging him to bring forth facts to make his case with regards to the pandemic.
Morrison’s solicitor John J Rice & Co said, “Van regrets that Mr Swann considered it necessary to issue proceedings.”
The solicitor added that the singer is disappointed by the publicity that surrounds the issue of the proceedings.
“This firm can confirm that a defence has been served on behalf of Mr Morrison to the proceedings brought by Mr Swann,” the firm said. “Mr Morrison asserts within that defence that the words used by him related to a matter of public interest and constituted fair comment.”
According to reports, the High Court proceedings include two other incidents as well. These pertain to a media interview in which Morrison allegedly referred to Swann as a “fraud,” and an online video in which he repeated the “dangerous” claim.
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