Northern Ireland's health minister is suing Van Morrison after the singer called him "very dangerous" for his handling of coronavirus restrictions.
Morrison, 76, who was was knighted in 2016, has dismissed the coronavirus pandemic - the death toll for which surpassed 5 million people last week - as media hype and has criticised Covid-19 restrictions though his music.
He denounced Northern Ireland Health Minister Robin Swann during a gathering at Belfast's Europa Hotel in June after a Morrison concert was canceled at the last minute because of virus restrictions.
The defamation suit relates to three incidents in which Morrison criticised Swann, calling him "a fraud" and "very dangerous."
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Swann responded in an article for Rolling Stone magazine, calling the "Moondance" singer's claims "bizarre and irresponsible."
Swann's lawyer, Paul Tweed, said proceedings "are at an advanced stage with an anticipated hearing date early in 2022." The lawsuit was first reported in the Sunday Life newspaper.