Is time up on putting back the clock? MEP calls for a change

Deirdre Clune says the practice is a relic from a bygone era

Is time up on putting back the clock? MEP calls for a change

A clock in the Irish Stock Exchange in Dublin | Image:

An MEP is calling for the clocks not to go back next week.

Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune says it is time for an end to the practice of winding back the clocks.

Households across the country will be turning back their clocks this coming weekend as wintertime officially arrives.

This means we will have less daylight in the evenings and more in the mornings.

But Ms Clune has joined a growing number of MEPs in the European Parliament, who think it is time the change was scrapped.

Speaking from the European Parliament in Strasbourg, she described the clocks going backwards as 'a relic from a bygone era' that no longer serves a useful purpose.

"I welcome moves to open a debate on whether we should scrap the idea that the clocks go back every October.

"Brighter evenings would lead to improved outcomes for road safety as the roads are more dangerous from the hours of 4-7pm.

"There are obvious economic benefits such as reduced energy consumption because of less need for artificial light in the evenings with a consequent reduction in CO2 emissions.

Impact on people's health

She also claims brighter evenings would have a positive benefit for public health.

"One study of 23,000 children, published by the BBC, found that their daily activity levels were 15 to 20% higher on summer days than winter days and that moving the clocks back causes a 5% drop in physical activity.

"The very least we should do is have an informed debate on whether it is a good idea to continue winding back the clocks every year."

Her calls come on the back of a promised review of the daylight saving changes by EU Transport Commissioner Violeta Bulc launched on October 5th.

A number of other MEPs have also put forward a formal question to Commissioner Bulc.

The question raises a number of issues, such as the impact of changing hours on the competitiveness of European industry - including energy prices and consumption.

It also raises the issue of daylight savings impacting on people's health - and has called for an evidence-based approach to how the change in time is impacting on energy, health, agriculture and transport in Europe.

While a survey published earlier this year found that the of Irish majority would vote to get rid of Daylight Saving Time.

Just over 50% said that, given the choice, they would vote to remove it in favour of a longer night.

Back in 2014, the public were asked to make submissions as to whether or not Ireland should move its clocks forward permanently as part of the Brighter Evenings Bill.