Daylight robbery topped the bill in the Dáil yesterday as TDs discussed the prospect of the country coming out of darkness and shedding a little more light on daily life.
With Ireland’s axis now closer to Brussels than Boston, the Brighter Evenings Bill tabled by Labour TD Tommy Broughan could have a significant impact.
According to Sinn Féin TD Michael Colreavy’s erudite contribution, time to Aristotle was “the most unknown of all unknown things”. He reminded the House that from 1880 until 1916 Ireland operated on a different time zone to Britain called “Dublin time” in line with Dunsink Observatory.
Time is the stuff of acronyms. The Broughan Bill would effectively put an end to summer or daylight saving time which comes around when the clocks leap forward in the spring, going one hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT + 1) only to fall back again in the autumn to Western European Time (WET) which is the same as GMT.
Depicting Ireland as four hours out of kilter with the rest of the EU, Mr Broughan argued that the extra hours would be good for business, beneficial for farmers, and reduce energy consumption. Its opponents worried about safety and breaking the time link with Britain and Northern Ireland.
Oddly, responsibility for changing time falls on Justice Minister Alan Shatter, who plans to form a study group. Until he gives the green light, people will have to endure the stress of changing the clocks.
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