Secretary of State Peter Hain has called on loyalism to step back from "self destruct mode".
Peter Hain has urged loyalism to step back
He was referring to intimidation as part of the loyalist feud which has affected parts of Belfast and Holywood, where a security operation is ongoing.
So far two men have died in the feud between the UVF and LVF.
"Working class communities in Protestant areas have suffered much in the last 30 years and now bear the brunt of more intimidation," he said.
"What makes this worse is that this intimidation and violence is from those who claim to be representing their own communities and who say they are proud of their heritage.
"This has to stop. Loyalism will be left behind if it doesn't step back from the self destruct mode that it is currently engaged in. No longer can there be areas plagued with feuds and murders - gangsterism masquerading as "loyalism".
The police and Army have set up checkpoints in a Holywood estate
He said that he recognised there were many issues affecting loyalist areas and there were structures at ministerial level to help to address them.
Meanwhile, police and soldiers have been operating checkpoints in a County Down housing estate for a third day amid continuing concerns about the feud.
The situation at the Loughview estate in Holywood remained quiet on Friday.
Police said the operation, which started on Wednesday, was to prevent a repeat of scenes when the UVF forced LVF members out of a Belfast estate.
Chief Superintendent Wesley Wilson said police are working to disrupt the activities of those it is believed could be intent on increasing fear and intimidation in the Greater Belfast area.
"It is the role of the police to uphold the law and protect life and property. The operation to police the on-going loyalist feud continues and any breaches of law will be dealt with robustly," he said.
"I would like to re-assure the public, the police are working to help bring this feud to an end. I would ask those with influence in local communities to do the same."