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TD campaigns for summer to last all year

SUMMER time arrives this weekend with the clocks going forward tonight -- leading to longer, and hopefully sunnier, evenings.

Now one TD is hoping to make the change permanent.

Fine Gael's David Stanton wants summer time to be stretched for an extra month, and possibly all year round.

The Cork East TD says switching Irish clocks to Central European Time would be cost-efficient as and save the public money on electricity bills, as well as providing other benefits.

Mr Stanton said US research suggests that having longer days improves road safety and allows people to spend more time outdoors.

"Longer summer time, with the clocks moving forward earlier in March, could save energy costs by reducing consumption and carbon emissions," he said. "In 2005, the US extended summer time by four weeks, following research showing that this could reduce energy use by as much as 10,000 barrels of oil per day.

"American summer time now runs for eight months, from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November.


"Summer time in Ireland and Europe runs for just seven months, following standardisation across the European Union in 1996. But the earlier change to summer time in the US allows people to save on light bills because the evenings stay brighter for longer.

"Studies suggest that longer daylight hours in the evenings would benefit retailers and those involved in sports.

"It could also boost road safety by reducing traffic accidents. Proposals to extend summer time have been backed by road safety campaigners, environmentalists and the tourism industry."

Mr Stanton has been a long-time campaigner of scrapping the practice of putting clocks, and will press the issue with Justice Minister Alan Shatter.

His comments follow Britain's official decision to consider keeping summer time all year round.

The House of Commons has voted to discuss the Daylight Saving Bill, which would allow the UK three years to test how well it could cope with Central European Time year-round.