Members of the Orange Order overwhelmingly believe that the Stormont Executive is not working, according to a straw poll for the Institution’s official newspaper.
When asked by the Orange Standard whether the Executive was delivering good government for the people of Northern Ireland, 90 per cent said that it was not.
Just one in 10 said that the Executive was providing good government.
Although the survey was not carried out by a polling company, it is understood to have involved a large number of Orangemen.
The paper conducts a different survey each month via an email list of hundreds of Orangemen, from senior figures in the Institution down to rank-and-file members.
Among those who submitted comments in the most recent poll, along with their vote, was one Orangeman who said of the Stormont Assembly: “The standard of debate and the subjects debated are little better than a sixth form debating society – and the sixth formers would be better behaved.”
Another said that Stormont was “a complete waste of money” and added that Northern Ireland would be “better off with direct rule”.
But another contributor said: “Those who advocate going back to direct rule must have forgotten small matters such as the establishment of the Parades Commission, lack of local accountability, and a civil service which is able to govern without checks and balances which Stormont can provide.
“It may not be perfect, but it is worth perfecting.”
Meanwhile, former Ulster Unionist leader Tom Elliott has expressed concern at how many people have not registered to vote.
The Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA said: “I am extremely concerned at the data released by the Electoral Office for Northern Ireland which indicates that as of October 24, 1,006,441 forms representing 71.59 per cent of the estimated eligible electorate have been returned to the Electoral Office.
“In other words, in the City of Belfast over 114,000 people are missing from the register, with the Province-wide figure amounting to almost 400,000 people missing.”
Mr Elliott encouraged those who have not yet registered to vote in next year’s European and local council elections to contact the Electoral Office on 0800 4320 712 or visit the body’s website at www.eoni.org.uk.