The Parades Commission has reversed its decision to ban a sectarian march from the nationalist Springfield Road tomorrow.

The decision reversal, following threats of violence by unionist paramilitaries, has been greeted with shock and dismay by local residents.

The Commission had originally ruled the Whiterock parade could not enter a nationalist stretch of the road but this afternoon that decision was turned on its head.

Unionist hardliners celebrated in west Belfast this afternoon as news of the Parades Commission decision filtered through.

They had been planning to protest and block roads for the second day in a row but the Parades Commission decision to allow the parade to take place changed that.

Lower Falls Sinn Féin councillor Tom Hartley has labelled the u-tuirn as a “political capitulation”.c

Councillor Hartley said, “ Today’s decision by the Parades Commission has caused intense anger within the nationalist community.

“What we have seen today is a political capitulation by the Parades Commission in the face of loyalist threats of violence.

“The Orange Order’s District Lodge No.9 has been rewarded for their refusal not to meet with residents”.

The reversal came after the Commission met political and community representatives over the past 48 hours, including Sinn Féin and members of the recently formed Loyalist Parades Review Forum.

The Parades Commission said this was a key factor in allowing the parade to go ahead.

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