Northern Ireland’s well being minister has described three new songs by Sir Van Morrison that protest against coronavirus lockdowns as “dangerous”.
In the lyrics, Sir Van claims scientists are “making up crooked facts” to justify measures that “enslave” the inhabitants.
“The new normal, is not normal,” he sings. “We were born to be free”.
Health Minister Robin Swann stated if Sir Van had scientific details he ought to current them.
Mr Swann stated: “I don’t know where he gets his facts. I know where the emotions are on this, but I will say that sort of messaging is dangerous.
“Our messaging is about saving lives.
“If Van wanted to sing a song about saving lives, then that would be more in keeping with where we are at the minute.”
He added: “If Van Morrison has counter-scientific facts that he’s prepared to stand over, and have that debate with the chief scientific adviser, then I think that’s how he should do it.”
Mr Swann has warned that Northern Ireland may once more face tighter restrictions if new circumstances of Covid-19 proceed to rise.
Sir Van recorded the three songs lately in Belfast and England.
No More Lockdown is probably the most strident of the three tracks. “No more lockdown / No more government overreach,” the musician sings within the refrain. “No more fascist bullies / Disturbing our peace.
“No extra taking of our freedom / And our God given rights / Pretending it is for our security / When it is actually to enslave.“
Sir Van has previously caused controversy by denouncing what he called the “pseudoscience” around coronavirus.
Launching a campaign to “save dwell music” on his website last month, the 75-year-old said socially-distanced gigs were not economically viable.
“I name on my fellow singers, musicians, writers, producers, promoters and others within the business to struggle with me on this. Come ahead, arise, struggle the pseudo-science and converse up.”
Sir Van said his new songs would be released at two-week intervals with the first, Born To Be Free, arriving on 25 September.
In a statement announcing the songs, the musician said: “I’m not telling folks what to do or assume, the federal government is doing an awesome job of that already.
“It’s about freedom of choice, I believe people should have the right to think for themselves.”
However, Mr Swann urged folks to “listen to the health advice coming from the professionals – the chief medical officer and the chief scientific adviser.
“They are the individuals who see the hazards.
“I know whose message I would rather listen to, that’s the message of the professional, Dr Michael McBride and Professor Ian Young.”
Van Morrison track alludes to debunked conspiracy idea
By Olga Robinson, BBC Monitoring disinformation group
Sir Van Morrison refers to a debunked Covid-19 conspiracy idea in one in every of his new anti-lockdown songs.
The monitor As I Walked Out consists of the lyrics: “Well on the government website from the 21 March 2020 / It said COVID-19 was no longer high risk”.
It’s a reference to a UK authorities web page that acknowledged “Covid-19 is no longer considered to be a high consequence infectious disease (HCID) in the UK”.
That a lot is true – however that does not imply that coronavirus is innocent.
The HCID designation is given for very deadly illnesses: for instance Ebola, which kills greater than 50% of contaminated folks.
Covid-19 was initially categorised as HCID in January – when little was recognized about it.
By March, extra info and testing prompted authorities to revise the classification.
It’s now thought the Covid-19 fatality fee is nearer to 1%. The hazard, scientists say, is that it’s also extremely infectious, and there’s no confirmed vaccine or remedy.
The authorities message was extensively shared on social media, largely by coronavirus denialists and opponents of restrictions, who’ve cited it as “evidence” that the lockdown was primarily based on a “hoax”.
Queen’s University Belfast professor of molecular virology Ultan Power invited Sir Van “to come visit my laboratory to see our research on fighting Covid-19”.
He tweeted: “Happy to address all his questions.
“Perhaps he would possibly even think about contributing to our analysis efforts to assist speed up our Covid-19 drug discovery analysis.”
Belfast metropolis councillor Emmet McDonough-Brown of the Alliance Party stated he had requested the council to contemplate revoking Sir Van’s freedom of Belfast over the songs.