We're still in the dark on time change
Published 21/09/2010 | 05:00
Bright evenings that linger on towards midnight in the west during high summer, along with mid-winter mornings when it will be dark until almost 10am, could become the norm in Ireland if a new campaign succeeds in harmonising time zones across western Europe.
The campaign is being driven by British activists, who claim to have the backing of more than 200 MPs for their proposals, which are tabled for debate in the House of Commons in December.
The Lighter Later campaign wants Britain to switch from Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) to Central European Time (CET) and put the clocks permanently forward by an hour. Clocks would still go forward by an hour in the spring and back by an hour in the autumn, but the switch to CET would mean longer evenings and later sunrises all year round.
If Britain switches to CET, Ireland (and Portugal, the only other western European country in our time zone) would come under pressure to follow suit.
Senator Feargal Quinn has been advocating a switch to CET since 1993, and he believes it's an idea whose time has come.
"This could potentially come down to a cabinet decision in London and it (a switch to CET) is something that could happen as soon as October 2011.
"The benefits we could get from an extra hour of light in the evenings all year round would be substantial," he says.
"Accidents on the roads would be reduced, there would be an increase in tourism revenues and employment, and we would reduce our carbon footprint with the savings on fuel and energy use."