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Government to hold national consultation on scrapping daylight savings time

The President of the European Commission has proposed to end the changes in Europe next year.

Image: Shutterstock/panitanphoto

THE GOVERNMENT PLANS to roll out a national consultation on whether Ireland should scrap daylight savings time.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan is expected to bring a memo to Cabinet tomorrow seeking government approval to allow a interdepartmental steering group lead a national consultation on the issue. 

The European Commission has recommended the abolition of daylight savings, advising that seasonal time changes will come into force as soon as 2021.

Minister Charlie Flanagan has previously said he has “an open mind” on the proposals.

The President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker proposed to end the changes in Europe next year.

The Commission held a public consultation during the summer and found that 84% of respondents to the online survey were in favour of ending seasonal clock changes.

“We all say in soap-box speeches that we want to be big on big things and small on small things. But there is no applause when EU law dictates that Europeans have to change the clocks twice a year.

“The Commission is today proposing to change this. Clock-changing must stop,” Juncker said.

The changing of the clocks for winter and summer has been a ritual in Europe since 1916, originally conceived as an energy-saving measure. 

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

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In 2017, former Minister for Justice Frances Fitzgerald said that a report submitted to her in 2014 recommended that the matter of bringing forward the start of summertime be kept under review and that consideration of any trial be coordinated as a joint venture with the United Kingdom, in the event that the UK would consider a similar trial.

“The Committee was impressed by the benefits of introducing summer time for a longer portion of the year and recommended this position be put forward in any future review of European legislation.

“However, particularly in light of the current context arising from the UK’s decision to exit the European Union, I have no immediate plans to pursue this at the present time,” Fitzgerald said at the time. 

However, with the Commission proposing that it should be scrapped, the Irish government will now open the matter up for national debate.

With reporting by Adam Daly

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