First Minister Peter Robinson has called for zero tolerance on loyalist and republican criminal gangs.
The DUP leader said these gangs are loyal to “no political cause, rather they seek only to maintain a grip of the communities in which they live and line their own pockets”.
Mr Robinson said: “This week top business executives from across the world have seen Northern Ireland at its best but we’ve all had a reminder of our grim and terrible past.
“The last few days could sum up the task that we’ve ahead as a society. Whilst the majority are determined to make Northern Ireland a success and move forward there remains a small number who want to be judge, jury and executioner. They don’t believe in the rule of law. They want to advance their ideals through violence.”
Speaking at the Blackwater DUP annual dinner in Co Tyrone on Saturday evening, Mr Robinson said: “I want to see the police dealing with those involved in criminality and clinging to the past regardless of whether they are so-called loyalists or republicans.
“There should be zero tolerance. These gangs are loyal to no political cause, rather they seek only to maintain a grip of the communities in which they live and line their own pockets.
“I want to see them removed from our streets. Those with a bloody and violent mind don’t want to build a better Northern Ireland.
“They care little for what kind of society we hand on to our children.
“Whilst the murderers this week may have dominated our local headlines, they did not factor with the business leaders I met. The international community accepts we have problems, every country has, but they very much view Northern Ireland as having the stability to allow them to do business.
“Whilst at a dinner in Hillsborough Castle where we welcomed 150 potential investors to the Province, I was amazed by the testimonies of existing investors who view Northern Ireland as one of the safest places to live, work and do business.
“Indeed, when compared to some American cities Northern Ireland’s crime rate is miniscule. That, amongst other reasons, is why nearly three-quarters of companies who have already invested in Northern Ireland are gearing up to invest more or have already reinvested.
“The Prime Minister joined with us in showcasing the benefits of doing business in Northern Ireland. We’ve a great story to tell. Our highly-educated, English-speaking workforce has a strong work ethic and low staff turnover rates.
“That’s why we are second only to the London region in attracting inward investment.”