Van Morrison concert at Europa Hotel cannot go ahead, says Michelle ONeill – Belfast Live

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Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill has said that a Van Morrison gig, scheduled to take place at the Europa Hotel this evening “can’t go ahead”, due to the current Covid regulations around live music.

The deputy First Minister was speaking alongside First Minister Arlene Foster at a press conference at Lisnakea, in County Fermanagh.

The media briefing followed the NI Executive’s meeting on Thursday on live music in Northern Ireland, where an indicative date of June 21 for the return of live music was agreed.

There had been confusion about whether or not Van Morrison’s four proposed concerts at the Europa Hotel – set to take place on June 10, 11, 12 and 13 – would go ahead.

The series of gigs, called ‘Save Live Performance’, can still be found on Ticketmaster’s website for the original June dates.

While all live events in Northern Ireland have either been cancelled or rescheduled due to the ban on live music, these gigs were apparently still scheduled to go ahead.

However, whenever she was asked today about tonight’s gig, Michelle O’Neill made clear that it “can’t go ahead.”

She said: “Yes, we did discuss [the Van Morrison gig], and no it can’t go ahead, it shouldn’t.”

She continued: “Unfortunately we’re not there yet. We’ve announced the indicative date of the 21st for live music, and that’s the date we’re asking people to adhere to.”

Belfast Live has reached out to the Europa Hotel for a response.

The news comes following repeated efforts by Van Morrison to resist the ban on live music.

The east Belfast musician has been critical of Covid restrictions, and it was announced in January that he was mounting a legal challenge against the ban.

The 75-year-old musician also caused controversy last year when he penned three songs denouncing lockdowns (with a recent album also containing many songs which follow in the same vein).

Van has accused the Government of taking people’s freedom and alleged scientists were making up “crooked facts” to justify restrictions to “enslave” the population.

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