17 March 2012

The St Patrick’s day parade in Armagh is re-routed due to a bomb scare. (Photo: Pacemaker)

A controversial loyalist band parade has passed off without major incidents in Armagh, in the wake of a hoax alert which disrupted events earlier on St Patrick’s Day.

The Cormeen Rising Sons of William Flute band marched through the streets of the city on Saturday night.

The parade started at 7.30pm and dispersed at around 9.45pm, with the atmosphere being described as “relaxed”.

The march was given the go-ahead by the Parades Commission last week, despite opposition from nationalist politicians.

UTV understands police arrested a number of people for disorderly behaviour in the Thomas Street area.

Earlier reporter Sharon O’Neill tweeted from the scene: “March in Armagh is well underway. Very relaxed.”

On Friday the PSNI urged those with influence in the community to work with them “to ensure that all events are equally supported and respected throughout the course of the day.”

The march started after a suspicious object at the centre of a security alert was declared a hoax.

Army bomb experts carried out a control explosion on the device in the College Street area of the city.

The area was cordoned off for a time and a number of homes in the vicinity were evacuated during the operation.

Armagh’s St Patrick’s Day parade was delayed by almost an hour and was forced away from its planned route through the city centre.

The security alert is over, and the College Street area has now reopened.