New poll suggests 70% of Northern Irish population want changes to Good Friday Agreement
Scepticism around the success of the Good Friday Agreement was consistent across religious and political affiliations.
A new survey conducted by YouGov in conjunction with Ohio State University (OSU) has found that more than two thirds of people in Northern Ireland believe that big changes are required to the power-sharing compromise brought about by the Good Friday Agreement.
When asked if the 1998 peace accord had managed to deliver stable governance to Ulster, the same proportion of participants (70%) believed that it had not.
The survey, which was commissioned by Westminster's Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, found that this level of trepidation around the Good Friday Agreement's success in delivering stability was evenly distributed across the denominators of age, religion and political leanings.
In a similar question posed by the survey, participants were asked if effective governance had been introduced to Northern Ireland as a result of the peace treaty, although 55% responded that it had not.
The North has been in a period of political limbo ever since Sinn Féin's historic election victory last May, with not a single sitting of the Stormont Assembly occurring thanks to a DUP-led boycott.
Sighting issues with the terms of the Northern Ireland Protocol, Jeffrey Donaldson's party have refused to enter power-sharing with their Republican opponents, creating a year-long legislature impasse.
As a result of this protest, Westminster is now tightening its grip on power in the North, having this week set out its budget for the 2023/2024 fiscal year at the House of Commons in London.
Furthermore, the people of Northern Ireland have endured trying economic consequences from the devolution of power, with the region entering a "technical recession" last year.
Many of the DUP's main rivals, such as the cross-community Alliance Party, are now calling on a change to the Assembly's rules which would allow them to return to work despite the DUP's absence. Although, the Unionist party argues that this would undermine the principles of the Good Friday Agreement.
The survey also found that three out of four people believe that the requirement for cross-community backing on major decisions is hampering the Assembly's ability to deliver effective policy change.
Simon Hoare, the Chairman of the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee, said that the survey provided an "important snapshot" of the prevailing sentiment within the province.
"These findings are an important snapshot of current thinking among people from all backgrounds in Northern Ireland, and a helpful contribution to my committee's thinking as we continue with our inquiry and look to publish a report on these issues (surrounding the Good Friday Agreement) later in the year".
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