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MEPs vote to scrap daylight savings - Ireland now has 12 months to say if it'll follow suit

The clocks are set to go forward this weekend, but that could be scrapped altogether in the future.

Image: Shutterstock/Casezy idea

THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT has today voted in favour of abolishing seasonal time changes by a margin of 410 MEPs to 192. 

Clocks are set to go forward this weekend on Sunday 31 March but that could happen for the final time in 2021 under the new proposals.

Summertime arrangements in the EU require clocks to be changed twice per year to cater for the changing patterns of daylight and to take advantage of the available daylight in a given period.

The well-flagged measure to abolish changes now gives Ireland a period of 12 months to decide if it’ll stay on summertime or not, with countries set to be given the option to stay to stick with standard time/wintertime.

For those opting for summertime, these countries should do the switch on the last Sunday in March 2021. Countries that want to keep the standard time will do so from the last Sunday in October 2021.

While this vote today isn’t the definitive one on the issue, it’ll form the basis of talks with member states to produce a final law governing daylight savings in the EU.

The matter has already been put out to public consultation in Ireland with Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan saying he is open to the idea of scrapping clock changes.

He did note, however, that once the UK leaves the EU that it could mean different time zones on the island of Ireland, depending on the changes made. 

Last year, 1,000 people were asked on behalf of TheJournal.ie and Claire Byrne Live/Amárach Research if Ireland should stop the ritual of changing clocks twice a year with 67% of people saying ‘Yes’.

Ireland South MEP Deidre Clune has long backed plans to scrap seasonal clock changes.

She said today in a statement: “It is high time to address this now. Its introduction did not lead to the expected benefits, such as energy savings. Instead, there are serious warnings from doctors about health hazards caused by the bi-annual time change.

This is an issue that affects everybody. I have been working with various parties for many years to push forward these changes. I welcome this move by the Committee and we need to now push forward at Member State level with plans.

About the author:

Sean Murray

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