Rank and file members of the Orange Order are overwhelmingly pessimistic about the Haass talks, a survey of Orange membership has found.
The survey, carried out by the Institution’s newspaper, the Orange Standard, found that 85 per cent of Orangemen surveyed did not believe the US diplomat’s process would find a lasting solution to contentious parades.
Although the survey was not carried out by a polling company, it is understood to have involved a much higher percentage of the Order’s membership than would be the case in standard political opinion polls.
A similar survey several months ago about the Maze peace centre — before the Orange Order itself came out against the project and Peter Robinson then abandoned it — revealed significant grassroots unhappiness at the proposal.
One of those who responded to the Haass survey highlighted that “for the last six years Portadown Orangemen have offered to meet the Garvaghy Road residents group...all offers have been rejected out of hand and the message is ‘no Orange feet on the Garvaghy Road’”.
But another respondent said: “This may be the opportunity that we have been waiting for to put forward our views...if we grasp this chance to articulate our case, then truth, not riots, will win the argument.”