Irish public asked for views on abolishing changes to clocks going back

Is anyone else exhausted from the hour going back in the early hours of Saturday morning? We've gained the hour, but for a lot of us, it's had the opposite effect and drained energy levels. This could be a thing of the past, with Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan announcing a public consultation asking people if they think we should scrap the twice-yearly practice of the clocks going back.

The consultation will ask the public if they are in favour of abandoning the current system. Depending on the response, the most recent clock change could be one of the last times the country switches between winter time and summer time.

The EU Commission has proposed abolishing clock changes from 2019 -  a public consultation across the EU has found 84% of Europeans want to stop the bi-annual changes between winter and summer time.

“As this is an issue that affects everyone, it is very important that as many people as possible respond to this consultation and express their views so that the Government may take account of public opinion when considering this proposal by the EU,” Flanagan said.

Irish MEP Seán Kelly, who is on the European Parliament Group dealing with the clock change, says that the practice now is detrimental to people's health. "All the evidence that we have gathered is that it is detrimental to people's health. People who have difficulty sleeping suffer especially in the weeks after the clocks change," he said.

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What would this mean?

If the clocks no longer changed, permanent summer time would mean brighter evenings and darker mornings in winter, while permanent winter time would mean brighter mornings and darker evening in summer.

People are being asked:

1. Do you want to stop changing the clocks twice a year?

2. If the clock changes stop, do you want to remain on summer time or winter time?

3. What would your opinion be if this proposal were to give rise to different time zones between Ireland and Northern Ireland?

A key issue would be that with Brexit looming and if this takes effect, the country will potentially be on a different time to Northern Ireland for half the year.

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“It is important to acknowledge that if the UK were to adopt a different position, this would present particular challenges for the island of Ireland. Any position adopted by Ireland will be informed by this important consideration."

The public can submit their responses online HERE or by emailing [email protected].

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