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Dublin: 9 °C Tuesday 23 April, 2019
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Ireland fought off loss of summer weeks

EEC wanted us to put the clocks back on the second Sunday in October, sending us into dark winter evenings earlier.

Don't let the sun go down on me... at least not too early in October, was the feeling from 1981 government HQ.
Don't let the sun go down on me... at least not too early in October, was the feeling from 1981 government HQ.
Image: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

SYNCHRONISE YOUR WATCHES… or not. The Irish government is still debating the idea of scrapping Daylight Saving Time (ie, putting the clocks forward an hour for summer) – but in 1981, it was very much against the idea.

Newly-released State papers from that year show that the Government was under pressure to sign up to an EEC proposal to get all European countries on the same time frame for summer. That would have meant putting the clock forward one hour on the last Sunday in March and back on the second Sunday in October. Currently, we put the clocks back on the last Sunday of October.

Such a move would have plunged Ireland into winter on average three weeks earlier than usual. The State papers show that then government weighed up the cost of having to pay for extra winter lighting and the detrimental effect on tourism as being reasons enough not to go with the EEC proposal.

Read: Ireland won’t scrap Summer Time – unless we get EU support>

Read more from the newly-released State papers of 1981>

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