Farm Ireland

Monday 25 March 2019

'We can't have Border villages just metres apart living in different time zones,' warns IFA

Calling for full evaluation: IFA president Joe Healy. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Calling for full evaluation: IFA president Joe Healy. Photo: Gareth Chaney Collins
Luke Byrne

Luke Byrne

The entire island of Ireland must stay in the same time zone if the EU plans to end daylight savings, a farming group has warned.

Fears are growing that Northern Ireland could be in a different time zone to the Republic if every EU member is to decide on the summer or winter hour.

After Brexit, Britain may decide to stay with daylight savings, meaning villages on the Border could find themselves just metres apart, but in different time zones.

The Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) called for a full evaluation of the proposed changes.

"The IFA believes the island of Ireland must remain in the same time zone, and potential time changes occur at the same time, regardless of what decision is made within the EU," a spokesperson said.

They added that a comparative assessment of the current daylight savings approach against constant summer or winter time on EU trade, road safety, public health, the environment and carbon emissions must be evaluated prior to suggesting any change.

Tánaiste Simon Coveney asked the Cabinet to note draft EU laws that are of "particular significance to Ireland", including the proposal to end seasonal clock changes and another on the prevention of dissemination of terrorist content online.

The proposal on time changes was described by a Government spokesman as "very much a work in progress at the moment".

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Last year, the Austrian government proposed a compromise that would extend the deadline for appealing the plans to April 1, 2021.

The proposal is due to be discussed at an EU meeting in June.

A national consultation process has been carried out in Ireland and is currently being evaluated.

The spokesman said that from an Irish perspective "the issue of which standard time, summer or winter option, should or will be chosen will need to be considered in the context of the island of Ireland and also the positions of other member states".

Asked if the Government was waiting to see what the UK government is planning in order for Ireland to stay in the same time zone, the spokesman replied: "That is certainly one major consideration. That's the great unknown at the moment."

Irish Independent