Do we want sunset at 4pm or 5pm?

Sunset in December at 4pm or 5pm? That’s one of the choices facing us, as the government aims to find out if people want to abandon the current system of changing the clock twice yearly, and if they’d prefer to stay on “summer time” or “winter time”.

Following an EU-wide public consultation to gather citizens’ views, the EU Commission has concluded that the majority want to abolish the twice-yearly clock change, and the Commission has put forward a proposal to give effect to this.

Ireland must now consider what position to take on this EU proposal.

If the UK were to adopt a different position, this would present particular challenges for the island of Ireland.

Today is the last day you can have your say on this, by taking part in the Irish Consultation on Seasonal Clock Changes.

    You will be asked to answer three questions:

  • Do you want to stop changing the clocks twice a year?
  • If the clock changes stop, do you want to remain on summer time or winter time?
  • What would your opinion be if this proposal were to give rise to different time zones between Ireland and Northern Ireland?

The closing date to take part in this consultation is Friday, November 30, 2018.

Currently, clocks are changed twice each year in order to cater for the changing patterns of daylight, and to match the hours of available daylight to people’s daily activities.

Since 2001, all EU member states switch to ‘summer time’ on the last Sunday of March, and switch back to their ‘winter time’ on the last Sunday of October.

Ending the clock change means choosing summer time all year round (brighter evenings, darker mornings in the winter than we currently experience), or choosing winter time (brighter mornings, darker evenings in the summer than we currently experience).

According to the EU Commission, previous concerns regarding disrupted biorhythm of farm animals, and changing milking schedules, due to the time switch, appear to have largely disappeared, due to the deployment of new equipment, artificial lighting and automated technologies.

An extra daylight-hour during summer can also be an advantage, allowing extended working hours for outdoor activities, such as working in fields and harvesting.

However, many other effects on farmers’ working days can be taken into account.

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