Bouyed by their success in forcing Saturday’s crunch Irish Premier League game between Cliftonville and Crusaders to be abandoned, the Andersonstown News has learned that loyalist flag protestors are now planning to target next month’s St Paddy’s Day parade in the city centre – and are hoping for the same result.

Loyalist flag protestors are hoping that their presence outside Belfast City Hall will force the parade and celebrations – which in recent years have seen thousands of revellers bedecked in green descend on the city centre on March 17 – to be cancelled.

This year Belfast City Council are planning four days of events over the St Patrick’s weekend to mark the national saint’s day, something which has angered many loyalists.

Last Saturday it took only a handful of loyalist flag protesters outside Crusaders’ Seaview ground on the Shore Road to force the big game to be stopped. The game was called off after a confrontation between loyalists and the PSNI outside the ground. Two men and a woman were arrested.