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The Reform Movement is an organisation which has the ultimate goal of the re-establishment of Ireland as a part of the Commonwealth, with the promotion of a British cultural background throughout the island of Ireland.

Contents

Launch

The group was launched in 1998 shortly after the successful referendum ratifying the Good Friday Agreement and describing itself as a coalition of "new unionists for the new millennium" [1]. 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.
  • 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.
  • State support for Ulster Scots speakers in the Republic.
  • 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,[2] 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 It believes the political scene in Northern Ireland is outdated, and that they represent a future vision for the province of Ulster and Ireland as a whole.

It has previously voiced support for citizens of Ireland being given the right to apply for British passports. The group has expressed views that are critical of the status of the Irish language[3] leading some critics to question its commitment to pluralism and diversity. However, Reform members would contend that they have no problem with anyone wanting to speak the Irish language but they do object to the "privileged" legal status which they claim the language unjustifiably enjoys. Irish language groups, however, feel that the group opposes parity of treatment for English and Irish speakers.. Reform's policy as set out in their Statement of Aims is for parity between the two languages - this would be a departure from the current constitutional status which places Irish as the First Official Language and English as the Second Official Language.

The Reform Movement is a modified descendant of the southern Irish Unionist tradition.

Criticism

Some people in Ireland object to the agenda of the Reform Movement, citing it as advocating a relationship for Ireland that is not at sufficient arms length from Britain and one which would severely compromise the sovereignty of the Republic, an argument which is undermined by the Republic's adherence to the European Union. Critics accuse it of being West British and apologist. Other criticism is focused on the fact that the group is perceived as opposing the Irish language and supports Commonwealth membership - aims which more traditionally-minded Irish nationalists oppose.

References

  1. ^ Irish Times, May 26th 1998 "New Unionist Lobby Group set up in Republic [1]
  2. ^ Reform.org FAQ
  3. ^ Reform.org Aims of The Reform Movement

External links

See also

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