Martin McGuinness has dismissed pockets of support for dissident republican candidates in the recent Council elections.
The Deputy First Minister said they failed to make any real impact on the polls.
Mr. McGuinness said his party had received the overwhelming backing of republican and nationalist communities in the Assembly and council elections.
Overall, independent republicans drew limited support right across the North.
However, in one of the most notable showings in Derry, Gary Donnelly polled more than 600 first preference votes in the Cityside ward, but failed to get elected.
Mr McGuinness said the vast number of voters backed parties and politicians who supported the power-sharing institutions of the Good Friday Agreement.
“The community is well ahead of where these people think they’re at,” he said. “Some of these people delude themselves into thinking that they speak for Irish republicanism in different parts of the north and quite clearly they don’t.
“The people who speak for Irish republicanism and Irish nationalism, and indeed many others in different parts of the north, are Sinn Fein representatives.”
He noted that solidly republican districts in his own Mid Ulster constituency had backed his party.
“One of the areas there that people have been remarking upon in the course of recent times is the Cappagh/Galbally area.
“Of all of the polling stations in the Mid Ulster constituency, the one that had the highest turnout was Cappagh/Galbally.
“You can be absolutely certain the overwhelming majority of those people voted for the Sinn Fein candidates. I take great heart from that.”