Northern Ireland news

Sir Van Morrison to return to Europa Hotel next month after gig in June was called off

Rock legend Van Morrison is to return to the Europa Hotel in Belfast next month

ROCK legend Sir Van Morrison is to return to Belfast's Europa Hotel for two gigs next month, seven months after his last performance at the venue hit the headlines.

Health Minister Robin Swann is taking defamation proceedings against Sir Van after he branded Mr Swann "very dangerous" over his handling of Covid-19 restrictions.

Restrictions led to one show being cancelled in June.

The singer-songwriter took to the stage at the Europa and criticised Mr Swann after the performance was called off just hours before it was due to start because it breached Covid regulations.

At one point the musician invited North Antrim DUP MP Ian Paisley up from the audience to join him in the chants.

North Antrim DUP MP Ian Paisley with Sir Van Morrison on stage at the Europa Hotel in June

Video footage of the pair later went viral.

Mr Paisley subsequently defended his involvement as "parody and sarcasm".

Sir Van is performing at the hotel on Saturday January 15 and Sunday January 16.

Concert-goers can enjoy a drinks reception and dinner before the gig.

The hotel said only a small audience will be allowed to attend.

"With a decreased seating limit available for each show, this is the best way to see and hear Van in an intimate setting, where in previous concerts he has pushed the boundaries of his back catalogue in a ‘jazz club’ cabaret-style atmosphere, which he clearly enjoys," publicity material for the performances read.

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