Northern Ireland news

DUP MP Ian Paisley Jr describes his Robin Swann `dangerous' chanting as `banter'

DUP MP Ian Paisley Jr has described his chanting that the Northern Ireland Health Minister is "dangerous" at a public event alongside singer, Van Morrison as "banter"
Marie Louise McConville

DUP MP Ian Paisley Jr has described his chanting that the Northern Ireland Health Minister is "dangerous" at a public event as "banter".

The North Antrim representative has faced an avalanche of criticism since he joined Van Morrison on stage at the Europa Hotel on Thursday night.

After the gig was called off, as it was found to breach Covid-19 regulations, the Brown Eyed Girl singer, who has been an outspoken critic of the Covid-19 lock-down, took to the stage to speak to the crowd.

Referring to previous comments made by Robin Swann, during which he called the east Belfast singer dangerous, Van said: "Robin Swann has got all the power. He’s keeping us in this, for over 15 months.

"All I have to say is, if I don’t have any power - and my power is like extremely limited, if at all - Robin Swann’s got all the power. So I say, Robin Swann is very dangerous".

The singer then invited Ian Paisley Jr, who was in the audience, up on the stage with him and the pair went on to chant "Robin Swann is very dangerous".

Mr Paisley was heavily criticised for his actions and later statement in which he referred to what had happened as "banter".

"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," he said.

"What was parody, comedy, banter and sarcasm should not be blown out of all proportion".

He added: "I certainly don’t believe Robin is dangerous.

"I think the parody and sarcasm of that comment is obvious.

"Remember last year the Department of Health labelled a song dangerous and I think Van is entitled to parody that.

"We are all entitled to our own views on how the lock-down has been managed. I’m sure some will take offence - as with all things- but none was intended on my part".

Speaking about his actions, Van Morrison told The Sunday Life that he had no regrets, and branded Mr Swann a "fraud".

"No, I don’t regret it," he said.

"Of course he’s dangerous. He’s a fraud. Why should I regret it? He called me dangerous and I’m calling him dangerous," he said.

Enjoy reading the Irish News?

Subscribe now to get full access

Northern Ireland news