Plans to abolish summer-time across Europe could stir up seasons of discontent in North

Time to go: The EU Commission’s proposal could see the end of ‘spring forward...’
Time to go: The EU Commission’s proposal could see the end of ‘spring forward...’
Frank Coughlan

Frank Coughlan

The clock has been ticking on Brexit for two years now with no expectation that reason nor logic will enter the debate any time soon.

Ireland and Britain seem completely out of step with each other. Sometimes it even looks like they are operating in two different time zones.

In fact, that is exactly what will happen if the EU Commission's new proposal to abolish summer-time is approved.

The bi-annual clock changing is hugely unpopular across Europe, with up 84pc of those asked arguing it's a right nuisance.

After Brexit, the South and wee North would then find themselves, for half of the year, ticking to different clocks a whole hour apart. So, from the last Sunday in October, clocks in the Republic would carry on regardless while those up and down the Queen's highway would be an hour behind.

Six o'clock in Dundalk would be 5pm in Newry.

Ridiculous? Of course. But we live in times when ridiculous is fairly close to what passes as normal.

Will we have Southerners wandering north for a late pint? Possibly.

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Will Northerners working south of the Border have to adjust their alarm clocks? Most certainly.

Will there be jokes about those visiting the North not having to put their watches back 400 years anymore, but only one hour instead? Why not.

The EU, of course, wasn't really thinking about Ireland when it made its proposal.

However, it should know by now that just because a proposal makes sense across the width of the continent doesn't mean it will fly in this rocky outcrop on its most western fringes.

Sensible people will simply despair at the daftness of one tiny island having two time zones.

But there will be plenty in the north east who will relish this opportunity to drive another wedge between the Six and the Twenty-Six.

For those flute-playing uber-loyalists banking on Brexit and rebuilt Borders to re-establish ancient enmities, this would be another unexpected gift.

They will be disappointed to learn, though, that dawn and dusk will still occur at the same time in both political entities.

However, they might be more than furious to discover that, as part of the now infamous Brexit backstop designed to maintain regulatory alignment, the North's clock could be obliged to keep time to Dublin's.

This would result in the North being out of step with the rest of Britain, a prospect that would have the DUP and the ghost of King Billy well and truly wound up.

Abolished

But this situation isn't without precedent.

Up to a century ago we ticked to a different a clock than our nearest neighbour as a matter of course.

Then in 1916, the British House of Commons introduced GMT in Ireland and abolished Dublin Mean Time, which was 25 minutes behind.

The change prompted opposition from farmers, politicians and various business groups.

Most irksome of all, it cost the bed-worshipping Irish their beloved lie-on in the mornings.

No wonder we had revolution so soon after.

Irish Independent


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