Sinn Féin MLA Alex Maskey has challenged the DUP to make a clear condemnation of UVF involvement in racist attacks in Belfast.
Speaking after recent racist attacks in a number of areas of the city, the South Belfast MLA said;
"It is absolutely clear the UVF is involved in these disgraceful racist attacks. PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Will Kerr has made that very clear in two statements on April 3 and May 6.
"The DUP now appears to be moving from a position of silence on UVF involvement in racist attacks to providing cover for the UVF.
"Does the DUP accept the clear statement from the PSNI that the UVF are responsible for these attacks and in fact have contributed to a 70 per cent rise in hate crime?
"There is a view that the DUP is refusing to confront the issue of UVF orchestration of hate crime in a bid to garner loyalist support in forthcoming elections.
“What people want to hear is the DUP stating unequivocally what everybody else knows, that the UVF are active in east Belfast. It has been involved in a whole litany of incidents including attacks on the Short Strand, the shooting of Jemma McGrath, the attack on police officers outside the Alliance party’s office and the most recent spate of racist attacks.
"The DUP needs to front up against the racists and the thugs and stand shoulder to shoulder with all those who abhor these attacks.
"There must be no political vacuum, which could be exploited by those behind these cowardly attacks on ethnic minorities across Belfast.”