Martin McGuinness praises Shankill Road's Bobby Moffett stance
Sinn Fein's deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has praised the thousands of people on the loyalist Shankill Road who signalled their opposition to the UVF murder of Bobby Moffett.
After a huge turnout for the murdered man's funeral on Friday, Mr McGuinness said it was a further signal that communities rejected those intent on continuing violence.
The leading republican also noted that during the general election, nationalist voters had overwhelmingly supported candidates who rejected armed groups from their community.
Answering a question in the Assembly on the efforts to combat paramilitary attacks, Mr McGuinness said it was clear that communities did not want to see a return to violence.
He said: "Obviously we keep under constant review the ongoing situation on the streets. And I think it is very disappointing that we have seen over the course of recent times attacks by the UVF that have resulted in the murder of Bobby Moffett.
"And of course on the nationalist/republican side, we also have seen armed groups who represent nobody but themselves, engaged in activities which has taken the life of young Kieran Doherty, for example, and indeed they have engaged in other attacks."
In February the Real IRA kidnapped and shot dead 31-year-old Kieran Doherty in Londonderry.
On Friday around 2,000 mourners defied loyalist paramilitary intimidation and turned out en masse at the funeral of Mr Moffett.
Mr McGuinness said: "I think from our perspective what was most encouraging, where we find ourselves, is the rejection of these groups, for example by the people of the Shankill Road. I find that tremendously encouraging.
"And I hope that people on the Shankill Road, and in other unionist areas in the north, also find encouraging the fact that at the recent Westminster elections, the nationalist/republican electorate, by their votes for the candidates that stood on that ticket, clearly rejected the activities of these unrepresentative groupings."