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Newstalk

08.38 17 Jul 2019


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Ireland is set to fight European Union proposals to end seasonal clock changes.

Justice Minister Charlie Flanagan will tell his Cabinet colleagues this morning that it could lead to two time zones on the island of Ireland when the UK leaves the EU.

His department has commissioned a survey that shows 82% of people would oppose having a different time zone to Northern Ireland.

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Minister Flanagan is also concerned that altering how countries change the clocks could lead to a patchwork of different time zones across the EU, instead of having geographical zones as is done now.

Earlier this year, MEPs voted to end the practice of adjusting clocks twice a year from 2021.

While the European Parliament has approved the proposals, the European Council has yet to finalise its position.

Parliament and the Council have to reach an agreement before any change can take legal effect.

Under the proposals, member states would keep their right to decide on their timezone.

EU countries that decide to keep their summer time would make their final clock change on the last Sunday in March 2021.

Those that prefer to keep their standard winter time would adjust their clocks for the final time on the last Sunday in October 2021.

A Europe-wide public consultation found that 84% were in favour of discontinuing the bi-annual clock changes while 16% wanted to keep them.

The Commission itself has pointed to evidence indicating the "importance of having harmonised rules in this area to ensure a proper functioning of the internal market".

A public consultation was launched by the Government here last year asking people they were in favour of ending the seasonal clock changes, and whether they want to stay on summer or winter time.

Currently, clocks are changed twice per year in order to cater for the changing patterns of daylight and to take advantage of the available daylight in a given period.

EU countries switch to summer time on the last Sunday of March and back to standard time on the last Sunday of October.

Reporting by Sean Defoe, Stephen McNeice and Jack Quann
Main image: File photo. Picture by: Ralf Hirschberger/DPA/PA Images

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