#Open journalism No news is bad news

Your contributions will help us continue to deliver the stories that are important to you

Support The Journal
Dublin: 12°C Tuesday 20 October 2020

No plans to change daylight saving time system, says Shatter

However, if the UK move forward with it, the Government will review the issue.

The Fanad Peninsula, as seen from Inishowen on the opposite side of Lough Swilly
The Fanad Peninsula, as seen from Inishowen on the opposite side of Lough Swilly
Image: Eamonn Farrell/Photocall Ireland

IRELAND IS TO maintain its current time zone arrangements as the Government has no wish to emulate a British proposal to advance time by one hour all year-round.

Answering a written Dáil question from deputy Thomas Broughan, Minister Alan Shatter said he had no plans “at this time” to change the present system.

There is also no desire to carry out any cost-benefit analysis of advancing time by one hour all year-round for Ireland.

However, officials in both the Department of Justice and the Department of Foreign Affairs say they are keeping a close watch on what is happening elsewhere and should anything chance, the situation will be reviewed.

Shatter said that the matter is raised each year on the occasion of the clocks going forward or back. Time advanced by one hour last Sunday 1am.

He added that the issue had become more topical this year because of a bill moved through the UK Parliament. If that particular legislation had passed, the British Government would have been required to analyse the cost benefits of such a move.

In turn, if that study proved positive, a trial clock change would be implemented for three years to figure out the full implications.

In January, the report stage of the bill was debated in the House of Commons but it was deemed to have run out of time and fallen after a number of MPs fought against it.

However, the Bill has broad support in the UK and it may appear in another guise in front of Parliament again.

Members of the Minister’s department met with officials from the London Embassy and the Bill’s sponsor Rebecca Harris last year to discuss how it could affect Ireland. The cost-benefit analysis would also include a breakdown on implications for Northern Ireland.

Shatter also noted that EU Member States have limited discretion on the matter as a directive requires summer time to start and end at the same time so time differences remain constant between countries. There has been no talks at EU level about any changes to the current system.

At the moment, Ireland and the UK operate in the same time zone. Summer time begins at 1am (Greenwich Mean Time) on the last Sunday in March when clocks are put forward one hour.

Summer ends on the last Sunday in October when time is put back by one hour.

Therefore, clocks are set at exactly GMT during winter and GMT +1 in summer.

If time was advanced for an hour for the whole year, Ireland would operate at GMT +2 from April to November and GMT +1 throughout winter.

Proponents of the bill in the UK argued that having more daylight when most people are awake would be beneficial as it could lead to safer roads in the afternoons and evenings when people walk and cycle from school and work. They also believe it would promote healthier lifestyles, provide a boost to leisure and tourism industries and reduce the country’s carbon emissions.

Earlier: Could Ireland move to the same time zone as central Europe?

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

Read next: