Ireland's Tanaiste (deputy leader) Eamonn Gilmore has said that unrest in Belfast over the Union flag has "nothing to do with real issues", after more than 40 days of road blocks and sporadic violence by loyalists have failed to produce a solution in Belfast.
Mr Gilmore said:
This violence is being orchestrated and those behind it are known criminals, intent on creating chaos.
This has nothing to do with real issues around flags and identity in a shared society, which are the subject of intensive political discussions at present.
Twenty-nine police officers were injured during sectarian riots between republicans and loyalists in east Belfast today.
The union flag will be raised at dawn over Belfast City Hall for the first time since the dispute began last month.
Police were attacked for a third night, with frontline officers reportedly coming under gunfire as new loyalist trouble erupted in Belfast.