Ireland and Britain are allowed to retain imperial measurements twenty seven years after the European Union requested a full conversion to the metric system.

In 1980 the European Union (EU) asked all of its members to go metric and Ireland and Britain were to phase out Imperial measurements by 2009. However, twenty-seven years on the use of the Imperial System is still widespread.

Moore Street trader Marie Cullen says her customers

Ask for pounds rather than kilos, its mostly foreign nationals who will ask how many kilos in it.

Butcher John Collins says most of his customers still use pounds and ounces. Pastry chef Louise Lennox says cooks operate in both systems as digital scales allow them to switch between pounds and grams very easily. However, tailor Louis Copeland still uses the Imperial System although he concedes he will need to change eventually.

I know my game in inches, I don’t know it in centimetres yet.

Director of midwifery and nursing in the Rotunda Hospital Pauline Treanor says newborn babies are weighed using the Metric System but most Irish people like to have the weight converted into pounds and ounces.

The younger Irish might understand the Metric, but their parents or the grandparents wouldn’t, so they get the conversion for their relatives.

So after almost three decades of trying to convert Ireland and Britain to the Metric System, the European Commission has agreed to allow Imperial measurements to continue indefinitely. Martin Territt, head of the European Commission office in Dublin acknowledges that people are attached to the Imperial measures and, as a dual system of weights and measure has proven not to affect the internal market,

We’ve said let’s leave it as it is.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 11 September 2007. The reporter is Samantha Libreri.