NI: Van Morrison withdraws challenge to Covid-19 ban on live music
Van Morrison has withdrawn his application for a judicial review of the “blanket ban” on live music in Northern Ireland venues during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The singer-songwriter launched his legal action in January, arguing that Regulation 5 of The Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2021 was unlawful.
Solicitor Joe Rice of John J. Rice & Co Solicitors, representing Mr Morrison, said: “Mr Morrison has been tireless in his campaign to restore the performance of live music over the past 16 months.
“He had sought to engage constructively with government to propose practical suggestions as to how to bring back live music events based on robust individual health and safety.
“It was deeply disappointing that it was necessary for Mr Morrison to bring legal proceedings in order to achieve the lifting of the ban on live music but he did so on behalf of all musicians and the live music sector as a whole.
“Had the government engaged with both Mr Morrison and the industry from the outset, more pre-planned events, such as his Ulster Hall concerts, could have proceeded.”
Mr Morrison added: “During my legal proceedings, we were given assurances that specific medical evidence to justify the blanket ban for Northern Ireland would be shared with our legal team. We are still waiting to receive that evidence.
“There are questions regarding the reluctance of the NI Executive to share any concrete verification in this regard. We must also ask why Northern Ireland was singled out for such draconian restrictions when every other region of the UK sought to move forward in more positive ways.”