Northern Ireland’s health 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 population.
“The new normal, is not normal,” he sings. “We were born to be free”.
Health Minister Robin Swann said if Sir Van had scientific facts he should present them.
Mr Swann said: “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 could again face tighter restrictions if new cases of Covid-19 continue to rise.
Sir Van recorded the three songs recently in Belfast and England.
No More Lockdown is the most strident of the three tracks. “No more lockdown / No more government overreach,” the musician sings in the chorus. “No more fascist bullies / Disturbing our peace.
“No more taking of our freedom / And our God given rights / Pretending it’s for our safety / When it’s really to enslave.“
Sir Van has previously caused controversy by denouncing what he called the “pseudoscience” around coronavirus.
Launching a campaign to “save live music” on his website last month, the 75-year-old said socially-distanced gigs were not economically viable.
“I call on my fellow singers, musicians, writers, producers, promoters and others in the industry to fight with me on this. Come forward, stand up, fight the pseudo-science and speak 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 people what to do or think, the government is doing a great 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 people to “listen to the health advice coming from the professionals – the chief medical officer and the chief scientific adviser.
“They are the people who see the dangers.
“I know whose message I would rather listen to, that’s the message of the professional, Dr Michael McBride and Professor Ian Young.”