ARK Publications

Press Releases: 15 October 2002


    What do the people of Northern Ireland really feel about the suspension of the Northern Ireland Assembly for the fourth time?

    Should it be resurrected and, if so, under what conditions?

    These are some of the questions currently being asked on 1,800 doorsteps around the province as part of the 2002 Northern Ireland Life and Times Survey - a joint project between Queen's University and the University of Ulster.

    In last year's survey 65% of people thought that the Assembly should have the most say on how Northern Ireland was run. Only 17% of respondents favoured direct rule.

    This year's survey will also gauge public opinion on a number of other vital issues including:

    • How European do Northern Ireland people feel?
    • What do they think of the EU? How does it affect their lives? What are their rights and how do they feel about how decisions are made in Europe.
    • Do women play a big enough part in local politics?
    • What are the rights of children now that plans have been drawn up to appoint a Commissioner for Children and Young People?
    • What is the state of community relations between Catholics and Protestants and among the different ethnic groups in the province.
    • How do working women cope balancing the demands of a job with running the household? This is part of an International Social Survey Programme being conducted in more than 30 countries world-wide.


    A team of 40 interviewers are conducting the survey which will be completed by December 31.

    One of the survey organisers Dr Gillian Robinson, Director of ARK, said:

    "There will be particular interest in public reaction to the suspension of the Northern Ireland Assembly for the fourth time in four years.

    Previous surveys have shown that public opinion is firmly in favour of devolution, but with this suspension probably lasting much longer than previous suspensions, will there be a change in attitude?

    On a wider political front, now that the Republic of Ireland has ratified the Nice Treaty opening the way for 10 additional countries to join the EU, do Northern Ireland people feel they are part of mainstream European life or merely existing on the fringes? In any case we are still bound by decisions made in Brussels."


Disclaimer: © ARK 2002 Last Updated on Thursday, 20-May-2004 16:37