THE ORANGE Order and two other loyalist groups have lost a court fight to stop the re-routing of processions away from Catholic churches in Glasgow.

Glasgow City Council had made orders re-routing four marches, two on Saturday and two on Sunday.

The council say that an appeal against the orders heard at Glasgow Sheriff Court had failed.

The council says it can now divert all four marches.

A council spokesman said: "The sheriff found that the council's actions were lawful, necessary and proportionate and he dismissed the response from the organisers."

The loyalist marches were move moved away from a stretch of London Road passing St Alphonsus RC Church, where a Catholic priest was spat on.

READ MORE: Orange walk campaigners offer talks on parade routes in Glasgow

Police raised concerns with Glasgow City Council that similar marches had prompted counter-protests and this was likely to be repeated at the weekend.

Had the previous route been used, Police Scotland said more officers including specialist resources would have been necessary to safely manage the parades and any protests.

The affected processions are those of the Apprentice Boys of Derry (Bridgeton) and Dalmarnock No Surrender Branch Club, both at 5pm on Saturday 1st June, and Dalmarnock Orange & Purple District 50 and Orange & Purple District 37, both at 11.15am on Sunday 2nd June.

The Grand Orange Lodge had claimed it and related groups are victims of “anti-protestant persecution” and said police are able to manage protests by other organisations without re-routing parades.

Thomas Porteous, Scottish amalgamated committee chairman for the Apprentice Boys of Derry, said he was disappointed with the decision and said it was likely the march planned for Saturday will not go-ahead.

The groups' lawyer, Neil MacDougall, told the court that all his clients were "seeking to do is exercise their rights to walk where they have walked for the last 15 to 20 years with largely no incidents.

But Sheriff Stuart Reid found in favour of the council after a two hour hearing.

He said: "This was a difficult and anxious point.

"I am satisfied that the council has the statutory power imposed to re-route public processions.

"The right to freedom of expression is not an unrestricted right on particular grounds."

HeraldScotland:

The decision comes two weeks after a protest was staged outside St Alphonsus on London Road, Glasgow by Call It Out, the anti-Catholic bigotry campaign group where a Dalmarnock Orange & Purple District No.50 Parade passed by.

Canon Thomas White was attacked and subject to vile sectarian abuse outside the chapel, near The Barras market, in July last year.

Following the incident Bradley Wallace was jailed for 10 months in February after admitting assaulting the priest - a charge aggravated by religious prejudice.

Since the incident, tensions have risen as campaigners call for Glasgow City Council and Police Scotland to reroute marches away from Catholic churches.

The group were concerned that Glasgow City Council continues to allow these marches to pass churches and in doing so "fails to protect the minority Catholic community".

Jeanette Findlay who heads Call It Out criticised the situation on social media said at the time that police used "huge quantities of the resources that they consistently claim are so scarce to accompany an anti-Catholic parade and all its coat-trailers past this beautiful church, its parish priest and its parishioners of all ages".

Earlier it emerged that more than 200 police officers would be needed if a march is allowed to go past St Alphonsus Church in Calton on June 8, police have said.

It is double what was deployed on May 18 for a march and counter protest outside the church earlier this month.

Councillors will next week be asked to approve re-routing the march away from the church.

The parade by the County Grand Orange Lodge of Glasgow on June 8 will involve almost 1000 marchers plus one band. It is also expected to attract many followers and be met with a protest if it is allowed past the church where a priest was spat on last year.

HeraldScotland:

A spokesman for the Grand Orange Lodge of Scotland said: “We believe that Glasgow City Council and Police Scotland have acted out with the law in their crusade against the Protestant faith in Glasgow and we intend to challenge their actions through the courts.”

A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Glasgow said they did not want such parades banned completely.

He said: “We would only ask that solutions are found which respect the right of worshipers and the local residents to go about their business free from fear and anxiety.

“It is especially important that consideration is given to the timings of religious services when planning such marches.”

A Glasgow City Council spokesman said: “We note the Sheriff’s comment that the council’s actions have been lawful, necessary and proportionate and will take the time to consider his full judgement once it is available.”