Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness has slammed Dissident IRA groups after a bomb exploded over night in the center of Derry damaging several businesses.

McGuinness, who lives in Derry's Bogside area, said: "These conflict junkies are attempting to drive a city living very much to the future, back to the past.

"People in this city are horrified that there are still these Neanderthals within our society."

McGuinness is in England to address the Tory Party conference on Northern Ireland. Derry has been named at the UK Capital of Culture for 2013.

Derry’s SDLP Mayor Colm Eastwood said he was also disgusted by the attacks in the wake of former President Bill Clinton’s visit  to Derry last week.

He said: "I do not know what these people are hoping to achieve. They say they love their country but they spend their time trying to destroy it.

"The people of this city will be very angry.

"It is just shocking that someone would put a bomb anywhere, but especially at a commercial centre."

First Minister Peter Robinson made  a joint statement with Mr McGuinness, which said: "It is clear that the people who carried out this attack have no regard for life or property. Their sole aim is to disrupt our peaceful society and to create a culture of fear.

"We are as determined as ever to build a stable and peaceful society free from sectarianism and we will not allow the achievements of recent years to be destroyed by a small minority who have nothing to offer but a return to the past."