The unionist paramilitary UDA has been blamed for a brutal attack which left two men and a woman in hospital in a County Antrim town.
They were assaulted at a house by a gang of five masked-men armed with a crowbar, sledgehammers and baseball bats.
The men entered the property in Ballymoney on Monday shortly after 8.30pm and attacked the three victims.
Two victims sustained serious injuries as a result of being assaulted and all required hospital treatment. Substantial damage was also caused to the inside of the house and a vehicle parked outside the house.
Independent councillor Padraig McShane said loyalist paramilitaries were responsible.
“This attack was the responsibility of the UDA in Ballymoney,” he said. The “upscale” in loyalist violence in north Antrim “has nothing to do with politics”, he added.
“I would call on the PSNI and the Paramilitary Crime Task Force to take a much more robust course of action to prevent future attacks. These attacks are largely perpetrated within their own communities.”
Sinn Féin’s Philip McGuigan also condemned the serious assault.
“Such acts of mindless violence have no place in our society. The people involved in this attack need to wise up and let the community here live in peace,” he said.
There are fears of further attacks in the north Antrim due to increasing UDA violence in the area.
Tensions in Ballymoney are understood to be high after graffiti aimed at alleged UDA boss Marcus Boreland appeared on walls in the town.
Boreland was recently employed as security for the Royal family during a recent Royal visit to the North. He previously served a prison sentence for threatening the life of a Catholic work colleague on the loyalist wing of Maghaberry, when he told the victim he would be shot by the Red Hand Defenders, a cover name for the UDA.