A controversial Orange Order parade through Belfast city centre this Saturday has been postponed until the New Year.
The Sandy Row District decision comes after traders expressed disappointment at the potential loss of trade in the run-up to Christmas.
The parade had been organised in support of three Ligoniel lodges prohibited from parading along a stretch of the Crumlin Road close to the nationalist Ardoyne area.
In a statement last night, the Order said the postponement was an “act of goodwill”.
It said: “This decision was taken after listening to city centre traders and the local community; and in light of the heightened level of security due to republican terrorism. We believe a further parade at this time through the city centre would not be in the interests of our fellow citizens and therefore as an act of goodwill in this Christmas season we have decided to postpone the parade until early in the New Year.”
City centre traders claim they have already been adversely affected by recent loyalist parades and flag protests on busy shopping days.
The Orange Order said its support for the Ligoniel brethren “remains resolute” and added: “The Parades Commission again sought to criminalise unionists by their determination; however, we will not fall into their trap. When we next notify to parade the current commission will thankfully be gone.”