Dáil debates end to Daylight Saving Time

Saturday 06 July 2013 09.07
The Dáil debated the Brighter Evenings Bill, which would end Daylight Saving Time
The Dáil debated the Brighter Evenings Bill, which would end Daylight Saving Time

The Dáil has debated the Brighter Evenings Bill, which would end Daylight Saving Time.

Deputy Tommy Broughan, who brought forward the bill, said that there are road safety statistics that support moving the clocks.

Mr Broughan said there have been concerns about the darker mornings, but he cited the fact that people go to work and school an hour later during the darkest mornings in Scandinavia.

He said that is something that should be explored.

Energy consumption has dramatically increased from 1990 to 2008, so Mr Broughan said the brighter evenings would be a positive benefit, as carbon emissions would be cut.

He said it would be dark up to 9.40am for a period in mid-winter, but the shortest evening would only go to about 5.10pm.

Mr Broughan said that Ireland is four hours out of kilter with the rest of the European Union.

He said it would gain these hours and it would be good for business.

Mr Broughan also said he consulted the Irish Farmers Association and the hour in the morning would be beneficial.

The IFA has advised him that Ireland would need to work together with the UK.

Fianna Fáil's Timmy Dooley said the bill is worthy of discussion and it should be discussed, but his party is opposed to it, as it would be impractical, particularly if it was done so without the co-operation of Britain and Northern Ireland.

He said that people in the agricultural sector work outside in the early mornings and this time change would negatively affect them.

Sinn Féin's Michael Colreavy quoted Aristotle, saying "time is the most unknown of all unknown things", and he said the Dáil can legislate for many things, such as taxes, but it cannot legislate for more time.

Mr Colreavy said that from 1880 until 1916 Ireland operated on a different time zone to Britain. It was called "Dublin Time" in line with Dunsink Observatory.

He said there is no real study as to the potential impact of the changing the daylight saving system.

Mr Colreavy said it is logical and rational that brighter evenings will lead to fewer road accidents.

He read a reflective poem by Bridgitte Williams about Daylight Savings Time.

Fine Gael TD David Stanton, a long-time supporter of changes to the daylight time saving, said the change would have to be Europe-wide.

He pointed out that "our colleagues in the Outer Hebrides would not see daylight until after 11am".

His Fine Gael colleague Jerry Buttimer said it would be great if Ireland could extend summer time as opposed to Daylight Saving Time.

He said the bill would be of enormous benefit to the people of the country.

Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said that the oddity of political life is that the change of time falls on the responsibility of the Minister for Justice.

He commended Mr Colreavy's contribution.

He said that the people of Northern Ireland must be considered.

The minister said that he would have to do up a cost-benefit analysis and will have to establish a group to look at the bill.

He said that in February 2011 officials from his department met UK officials when a similar bill was heard in the House of Commons.

In conclusion, Minister Shatter said he could not accept the bill in principle, but he agreed that it could be examined further by the Oireachtas Justice Committee.