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Oireachtas agenda: Brighter Evenings Bill and birdwatchers

The first Friday of every month always sees some extra action in the Dáil and committees – and it’s an apt time to start speaking about Irish summer time hours. Is it an outdated thing to be putting the clocks back and forth?

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WHAT ARE OUR politicians doing in the halls of Leinster House?

As is usual on the first Friday of the month, there is a sitting of the Dáil and a full day of hearings at one Oireachtas committee today. fills you in…


The second stage of the Health (Amendment) Bill 2013 which we mentioned yesterday should be concluded by 1pm (it starts at 10.30am).

Straight afterwards comes one of the most long-running conversations in Ireland as Thomas P Broughan, TD for Dublin North-East, brings forward his Brighter Evenings Bill 2012. He wants Minister for Justice Alan Shatter to commission a report on the pros and cons of bringing the clocks forward by one hour to bring Ireland to Central European Time – and keep it there. He thinks we could try it out for three years and reassess then.

This would essentially get rid of the Daylight Saving Time mechanism we employ twice a year, which has its roots in Ireland’s agricultural heritage and the need for farmers to be able to make the most of daylight hours for harvesting. Just such a bill is stuck in limbo in the House of Commons in the UK – The Guardian has a good context report on that here. In 2000 there was a European Union directive issued to require member states to change their clocks at the same time together. So basically, it’s an all-do-it-together or don’t do it at all situation.

Deputy Broughan has to wrap up by 4pm when the Dáil breaks for the weekend.

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Just one committee – for Environment, Culture and the Gaeltacht – will meet today from 10am in Room 4. On the agenda is discussion of the wording of legislation on Climate Action and Low Carbon Development. Who will be speaking?

Well, everyone from business people to charities to agricultural interests to birdwatchers and environmentalists. Expect much differing opinions to be aired.

The exact order of speakers today is:

  • 10am Irish corporate leaders speaking about climate change
  • 10.45am Conor Linehan, a solicitor with expertise in environmental planning law
  • 12 noon Irish Dairy Industries Association
  • 2pm Trócaire
  • 2.45pm Irish Business and Employer’s Confederation
  • 4pm BirdWatch Ireland
  • 4.45pm Stop Climate Chaos

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