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Van Morrison to challenge live music ban in Northern Ireland

The Belfast musician has instructed his solicitors to begin a Judicial Review


Musician: Van Morrison wrote four songs in protest at the Covid lockdown

Musician: Van Morrison wrote four songs in protest at the Covid lockdown

Musician: Van Morrison wrote four songs in protest at the Covid lockdown

Sir Van Morrison has instructed his solicitors to challenge a blanket ban on all live music in licensed premises in Northern Ireland.

John J Rice & Co Solicitors has been told by the musician begin a Judicial Review process.

Licensed premises remain closed during the current lockdown restrictions, while live music has been banned since the outbreak of Covid-19 in March.

Sir Van’s solicitors explained that the coronavirus restrictions spans the entire spectrum of live music, banning all without distinction and without individual risk assessments.

It will be argued that this ban is unsustainable in law and is not based on credible scientific or medical evidence.

Sir Van (75) faced a wave of criticism last year after the release of his four protest songs against virus restrictions penned during the first lockdown.

The tracks - Born To Be Free, As I Walked Out, and No More Lockdown - were all recorded by the singer himself.

In the lyrics, the Belfast singer called for an end to rules aimed at stopping the spread of Covid-19 in which he claimed scientists were “making up crooked facts” in measures that “enslave” the population.

The blues legend, who was also forced to postpone a series of 2020 comeback concerts in Belfast due to Covid-19, also criticised celebrities "telling us what we are supposed to feel" as he called for an end to the "status quo”.

Profits from the songs were destined for Morrison's Lockdown Financial Hardship Fund, which is intended to make life easier for musicians facing financial stress as a result of coronavirus.

Commenting on the Judicial Review challenge, Solicitor Joe Rice said that many people in the music and arts world in Northern Ireland have been “devastated financially, socially and artistically by this complete ban”.

“This differs from the law in England and Wales and the evidence behind such a negative decision in this jurisdiction is far from obvious,” added Mr Rice.

“Sir Van is taking this action on behalf of the thousands of musicians, artists, venues and those involved in the live music industry.

“He has been supporting many artists throughout this pandemic and is determined to ensure that, as we endeavour to emerge safely from this lockdown, artists and musicians will have a proper opportunity to play their part through live music to restore the cultural, social and economic well-being and success of our society.”

Belfast Telegraph