A LOYALIST group has been forced to re-route its parade through Glasgow amid fears of violence and disorder. 

Glasgow City Councillors have approved a plan by the Regimental Blues group to parade on through the city's East End to mark St Patrick's Day, but only if it steers clear from a potential flashpoint identified by police.

Officers warned of serious disorder and violence and said the march could have major implications for the public and for police resources, and the parade will now be diverted away from the city's Gallowgate after covering a short section. 

The new route will mean the parade is kept clear of the way to Celtic Park and the pubs used by the club's supporters.

Public Procession's Chairman Jim Coleman called this a "reality check" for the group, and said that public safety had to be the council's chief concern.

He said: "I've been involved in discussion like this for quite a few years, and the day might well come when there will be no police concerns on parades in certain parts of the city.

"But we are not at that day yet, although we have made considerable progress."

He added: "Our position is that everybody has the right to parade and hold a demonstration.

"The public take a different view; they want to ban parades as they think they are a bloody nuisance. 

"But you have a democratic right to parade and hold a demonstration. But with this reality check you know that there are sensitive areas which must be considered. That's the reality of the city we live in".

The Regimental Blues, which has fewer than 100 'street activists', has been at the centre of a number of controversies recently including plans to target events marking the centenary of Ireland's Easter Rising and a weekend protest in Motherwell over the prospect of the council flying the Irish Tricolour.

The group, which also displays a mural dedicated to a notorious Ulster Loyalist killer on its website, issued a statement on the back of the mooted plan promoted by several North Lanarkshire councillors, warning: "We will be watching."

The group's organiser, Kris McGurk, said he was happy with the council's decision and said that only a small minority of people had been concerned about the proposed route.

He said: "We're happy that the parade is going ahead, although we're disappointed we'll not be allowed to walk up the length of the Gallowgate.

"We still have work to do with the council and with the community, and we want to promote unity between all groups.

"You can't have unity if some groups face restrictions and we want to work to bring those barriers down."

The parade is due to take place on Saturday 12 March.