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Dublin: 14 °C Thursday 22 August, 2019
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Irish government wants to oppose the EU's proposal to end seasonal clock changes

It is understood that during the discussions at working groups the UK has opposed the proposal.

Image: Shutterstock/Alexey Wraith

JUSTICE MINISTER CHARLIE Flanagan will today seek the Cabinet’s approval for Ireland to oppose the EU’s proposal to end seasonal clock changes.

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

The proposal requires States to stop the twice-yearly clock change from 2021, and choose either permanent summer time or winter time.

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.

Last year, the government announced that it was going to roll out a national consultation on the issue.

No to two time zones on the island of Ireland 

Flanagan has previously said he had “an open mind” on the proposals, however, the government also indicated that it wanted to avoid there being two time zones on the island of Ireland post Brexit. 

The minister will today oppose the proposal on two grounds.

The first is that he would not support any measure which could result in different time zones on the island of Ireland, and the second that he has a difficulty with one which could result in a ‘patchwork’ of time zones across the EU.

It is understood that during the discussions at working groups the UK has opposed the proposal.

While the minister is understood to acknowledge that it is a difficult issue on which there have been different views, he has come to his decision following the recommendation of the interdepartmental steering group, which included a public consultation exercise.

Earlier this year, the Claire Byrne Live and TheJournal.ie poll, carried out by Amárach Research, found that 81% of respondents would prefer summer time year round, rather than winter time. 

The consultation process, undertaken by the Department of Justice and Equality to gauge public opinion, comprised of its own opinion poll, a public survey and submissions from key stakeholder groups.

Public want brighter winter evenings 

It highlighted that while the public would generally favour brighter evenings in winter, 82% of those surveyed were not in favour of any measure that resulted in different timezones on the island.

Other stakeholder submissions raised concerns around agriculture, education, health, tourism, trade, utility costs and transport schedules.

It is understood that while primarily opposing the change due to the uncertainty with regard to the position of the timezone of Northern Ireland.

Flanagan also believes the proposal would allow member states of similar latitudes to choose different times could cause unnecessary confusion within the Single Market.

TheJournal.ie delved into the issue in an episode of the Explainer podcast:

You can listen wherever you get your podcasts or via SoundCloud below – you can also head straight to iTunesSpotifyAcastPodBeanPodcast Republic, and Stitcher.


Source: The Explainer/SoundCloud

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