The Reform Group
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|The Reform Group|
|Formation||1998 (15 years ago)|
The Reform Group is an non-partisan organisation based in Dublin which seeks to have Ireland re-join the Commonwealth of Nations and to promote "a more inclusive definition of Irish identity" throughout Ireland.
The group was launched in 1998 under its then name The Reform Movement shortly after the successful referendum ratifying the Good Friday Agreement and describing itself as a coalition of "new unionists for the new millennium". A number of its founders, such as Anne Holliday, had been members of the anti-republican group, New Consensus. At its launch, the group called for:
- support for the creation of the British–Irish Council as set out in the Good Friday Agreement.
- the extension of full British citizenship rights to those who wanted this in the Republic of Ireland.
- the appointment of a senior official in the Department of the Taoiseach with special responsibility for minority affairs.
- legislative change so that five of the 11 Senators currently nominated by the Taoiseach would be drawn from minority groups in the Republic of Ireland.
- State support for Ulster Scots speakers in the Republic of Ireland.
- increased resources for the Garda to help it tackle crime and terrorism.
The group claims to be a voice for "alternative viewpoints" of "Irishmen and Irishwomen who do not fit in the seamless definition" of nationalist or unionist, which it says has served to divide the diverse cultures of the island of Ireland into separate groups of Gaelic-Irish, Anglo-Irish and Scots-Irish. It has previously voiced support for citizens of Ireland being given the right to apply for British passports. The group has also expressed views that are critical of the status of the Irish language.
In May 2010, the group launched a book called, Ireland and the Commonwealth: Towards Membership. Speaking at the launch were independent Senator David Norris, writer Mary Kenny and Trinity College professor Robert Martin, all of whom stated their support for Ireland re-joining the Commonwealth.
At its inception and for some years afterwards, the "badge" or logo of The Reform Group was a white flag with a red saltire. This was a controversial choice of symbol. This symbol is often called the "Saint Patrick's Cross". The authenticity of the symbol as one representing Ireland has often been debated. However, in recent years The Reform Movement has downplayed this symbol and it no longer appears prominently on the organisation's website.
- The Reform Movement (newsletter, example of then name usage)
- New Unionist Lobby Group set up in Republic, Irish Times, 26 May 1998
- Founder member of New Consensus peace group, Irish Times, 16 April 2011
- FAQ reform.org Archived April 2009
- Aims of The Reform Movement, Reform.org
- "Republic of Ireland should rejoin Commonwealth, says senator". The Belfast Telegraph. 2010-05-21. Retrieved 2010-10-25.
- The Reform Movement Newsletter, Spring/Summer 2004 wherein it states in reference to the red saltire cross badge"It is seen amongst others in the arms of Queens University, the Royal Irish Academy, The Royal College of Surgeons, and of course in the badge of the Reform Movement."
- The Reform Movement Newsletter, Spring/Summer 2004 wherein it states "THE CROSS of Saint Patrick remains as controversial today as it has been for centuries."
- The Reform Movement Newsletter, Spring/Summer 2004 wherein it states "Given all this evidence, it is not possible to dismiss the authenticity the Cross of Saint Patrick in 1783. No-one has ever produced definitive evidence either way and it is lightly the flag will continue to remain something of a mystery.