Politicians round on Ian Paisley after Van Morrison chant

DUP leader Edwin Poots has again been urged to take action against an MP who joined singer Sir Van Morrison in a verbal attack on Health Minister Robin Swann.

By Graeme Cousins
Sunday, 13th June 2021, 6:15 pm
Ian Paisley Jnr MP on stage at the Europa with Sir Van Morrison.
Ian Paisley Jnr MP on stage at the Europa with Sir Van Morrison.

The actions of Ian Paisley at the Europa Hotel in Belfast were criticised by politicians from rival parties.

Four gigs by the musician at the hotel were cancelled at the last minute under coronavirus regulations.

Sir Van, an outspoken critic of Covid-19 restrictions, took to the stage on Thursday and addressed the audience of 140, chanting “Robin Swann is very dangerous!”

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Video footage then showed him inviting DUP MP Mr Paisley on to the stage, where they continued the chant.

Mr Paisley later released a statement in which he said: “I was put on the spot and called to the stage and tried to bring matters to a close by referencing some of Van’s music. What was parody, comedy, banter and sarcasm should not be blown out of all proportion.”

Ulster Unionist MLA Mike Nesbitt said: “Ian Paisley will know that Robin Swann has faced death threats during the course of this pandemic. I think the party leader (Edwin Poots) and the incoming First Minister (Paul Givan) need to take action against Ian Paisley, because what he did was a disgrace.”

TUV leader Jim Allister said Mr Paisley embarrassed himself and those he represents: “This was not just buffoonery at its worst but a calculated and unwarranted attack on the Health Minister.

“Considering [he] happily shared the office of Junior minister in Stormont with IRA convict Gerry Kelly, it is not just crass but reflective of the quality of his judgement that he thought it appropriate to roar about Mr Swann being ‘dangerous’.”

Sinn Fein’s Colm Gildernew said Ian Paisley needs to “unequivocally apologise”.

Northern Ireland man Mark Young, who said he has lost three family members to coronavirus, is ashamed to have Ian Paisley as his MP.

He tweeted: “The dangerous people are individuals like Van Morrison & Ian Paisley Jr who have undermined our health advice multiple times across the past 16 months.

“I’m absolutely ashamed that this individual is meant to be the MP for my area.”

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