NICVA members give their views on getting NI government back

29 Jun 2022 Geoff Nuttall    Last updated: 22 Jul 2022

In May, we surveyed NICVA members on the current lack of government in Northern Ireland.  Read here what members' top concerns were and what they said should happen next.  The survey questions and results are attached

Our survey asked when and under what circumstances the Northern Ireland Assembly and its institutions should be restored, what issues members believed were most important for government to deal with, and how significant they believed the NI protocol to be. The key findings are summarised below -

When and under what conditions should the NI Assembly be restored?

  • The overwhelming majority (93%) said that a Northern Ireland Assembly Speaker should be elected and Committees established immediately with no preconditions
  • Only 6% said it this should happen after the NI Protocol had been amended to allow unimpeded access of GB goods to Northern Ireland, and only 1% after the NI protocol had been abandoned 
  • The overwhelming majority of respondents (92%) said the Northern Assembly should be restored immediately with no pre-conditions, with just 7% saying only after the above amendments to the NI Protocol and only 1% after the NI protocol was abandoned

What should happen next if an NI Executive is not formed within the legally required 24-week period?

  • Views were mixed with 31% saying they thought the Secretary of State (SoS) should allow the caretaker Ministers to continue in post; 30% that the SoS should call a second election; and 28% that the SoS should implement Direct Rule 
  • A smaller proportion (11%) thought the SoS should allow for an extended period of negotiation

What do you consider to be the most important issue facing the Government in Northern Ireland?

  • Most (38.4%) chose “The Transformation of the Heath Service (HSCNI)” as the top issue facing Northern Ireland Government
  • This was closely followed by the “Cost of Living” crisis which 34.3% gave as their top priority
  • 13.1% gave “Reducing Health Service (HSCNI) waiting lists” and 8.1% “Employment and the Economy” as their top option
  • Only 4% gave the “Northern Ireland Protocol” as their top option

Does the UK EU Withdrawal Agreement/NI Protocol contradict the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement provision that the constitutional position of NI can only be changed by the people voting in a Referendum?

  • While the majority (53%) thought no to this question, a substantial proportion (18%) thought yes, but nearly a third (29%) said they didn’t know.

Overall conclusions

Overall, the survey results highlight a strong desire from NICVA member organisations for the immediate return of the devolved government institutions with no pre-conditions in order to address key issues such as transformation of our health service and the cost of living crisis.

geoff.nuttall@nicva.org's picture
by Geoff Nuttall

Head of Policy and Public Affairs

[email protected]

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