Sunday 18 August 2019

Businesses and farmers fight EU bid to scrap clock change

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Stock picture
Cormac McQuinn

Cormac McQuinn

Groups representing businesses and farmers have opposed EU plans to scrap daylight savings time, ahead of the Government's decision to seek to block the move.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan got Cabinet approval to oppose the EU's proposal to abolish the twice-yearly clock change.

He said: "While I acknowledge that many favour ending the practice of seasonal clock changes, the proposal is not a straightforward one. It would be profoundly serious if two different time-zones were to exist on the island of Ireland, creating significant unnecessary problems."

An opinion poll carried out for the Government during the consultation process showed 66pc of people favoured scrapping the clock change.

However, the poll also found 82pc were against any measure that resulted in two different time-zones in Ireland, which could happen if the UK did not implement the move post-Brexit.

Business lobby group Ibec raised its opposition to the EU plans during the consultation period. Its submission warned that it would "disrupt" businesses, the aviation industry and shipping.

The Irish Farmers' Association (IFA) said some farmers with young families might support a change to ensure children walking and cycling to school in winter could do so in daylight. But it also said others would view it as causing "more disruption than it is worth". It said an assessment should be carried out prior to any fundamental change.

Meanwhile, Tourism Ireland was in favour of a permanent "summertime" with brighter evenings in winter extending the tourist season.

But it said its primary concern would be to ensure that Ireland's time-zone does not differ from the UK's.

Irish Independent

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