Sinn Fein Causeway Coast and Glens councillor Tony McCaul has caused a storm by writing on Facebook that republicans “can never rule out any tactic, including violence”.
He added: “I now believe politics is expedient, that view could change if circumstances change.”
He made the remarks during a heated exchange with an ex-IRA prisoner who is a staunch critic of Sinn Fein.
Victims’ campaigner Ann Travers said that it was “extremely concerning that any politician would advocate a return to violence if they don’t get their own way in the time frame they require”.
Kenny Donaldson of Innocent Victims United said republicans tried to murder a prison officer in Belfast last week. “Cllr McCaul is actually providing a form of justification for the actions of those responsible,” he said.
DUP MP Gregory Campbell said the onus now “lies clearly on Sinn Fein to act in relation to this individual”.
In a statement Mr McCaul affirmed peaceful and democratic means “for everyone”.
He added: “I can see no reason why anyone should resort to violence either now or in the future.”