Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson and Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness have instructed one of their senior officials to engage urgently with local communities.

The official is to meet leaders in the Newtownards Road and Short Strand areas of east Belfast to identify issues of concern around the interface.

'We would ask everyone to give the official the time and space to conduct this work,' they said.

The two said that an official has been asked to bring back a report promptly and make recommendations as to how problems in the area can be addressed.

'By working with local communities and agencies, we want to ensure that interface issues are tackled across Belfast.'

Officers have also been talking to community representatives to try to calm the tension.

Meanwhile, the PSNI has blamed loyalist paramilitary group the UVF for last night's second night of sectarian street disturbances in east Belfast.

Hundreds of rioters again gathered in the Short Strand area, with loyalist and nationalist youths hurling petrol bombs, bricks and bottles.

A number of shots were fired just before midnight and a press photographer was shot in the leg.

Police have said that dissident republicans were responsible for the shooting. They are investigating if the man was the gunman's intended target.

PSNI Assistant Chief Constable Alistair Finlay said between 450 and 500 people were involved in rioting.

Water cannon vehicles were deployed and plastic baton rounds were fired.

A 20-year-old woman was arrested on suspicion of possessing an offensive weapon and assaulting police.

The violence has been condemned from politicians in the Republic.

Speaking in the Dáil during Leaders' Questions, Taoiseach Enda Kenny said the situation demands serious attention.

Mr Kenny said Mr Robinson and Mr McGuinness were bringing a sense of understanding and calmness to the situation.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin said the scale of violence was worrying and said these people must not be allowed to succeed.

Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams said everyone must remain calm about the situation, but should also seek to interact more with Northern Ireland.

Irish Secretary of the NUJ Séamus Dooley said the shooting was an attack on the media and was 'an extremely worrying development'.