Ian Paisley this week praised Sinn Fein for keeping its word on power-sharing despite the rise in support for dissidents.
The former Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader said he was encouraged and hoped relations between his successor, Peter Robinson, and Sinn Fein’s Martin McGuinness would “steady”.
The two parties are still negotiating the handing over of policing powers from London to the Six-County administration at Stormont.
Mr Paisley said: “What encourages me is the fact that, so far, the Sinn Feiners have kept their word and there’s no doubt that there’s a hatred coming to them from people that once were with them.”
He said Martin McGuinness was “very fair” and he had a good relationship with him.
“I think there’s no reason why that relationship should not steady itself with Peter in a minefield that is very explosive in Ulster politics and they need to work with great care,” he added.
“I don’t think that the majority of Roman Catholics and the majority of Protestants would go back to what we had. There’s a great relief, people are beginning to get back to normality.”
The PSNI uncovered a home-made rocket and launcher in Armagh city today following what it said was a warning call from a member of the public.
The device was described as a “horizontal mortar type device”. Ir was removed by the British Army following a lengthy operation today.
In July, the PSNI in the same area came under attack with missiles and paint during another security alert in which a minor explosion occurred.
Elsewhere, more than 50 people have complained about low-flying helicopters in County Fermanagh and south Tyrone over the weekend.
A spokesman for the British Ministry of Defence said the British Army was involved in a “training exercise”.
It is understood that more than a dozen aircraft were involved in the operation.