28 March 2021
By Mary Bermingham
Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune has sought clarity from the European Commission on plans for abolishing the seasonal clock changes. This weekend in Ireland clocks will once again turn forward by one hour.
The European Parliament said in 2019 that seasonal clock changes should be abolished in 2021. It was then up to the Member States to choose between winter or summer time. Member States, including Ireland had to decide whether they wanted to stay on summertime or not.
Ireland and some other member states opted not to accept the proposals to stop the clock changes. In July 2019 the Irish Government announced that Ireland would oppose the EU proposal to end seasonal clock change. There were concerns about having two different time zones on the island of Ireland.
Ireland South MEP Deirdre Clune said: “A large majority of MEPs voted in favour of the proposal to abolish the seasonal clock change by 2021. I was very much in favour of abolishing the clock changes. Its original introduction did not lead to the expected benefits, such as energy savings.
“This is an issue that affects everybody. I have been working with various parties for many years to push forward these changes. There are many benefits to ending the process of changing the clocks each year such as improved outcomes for road safety and economic benefits. In addition brighter evenings in winter would have a positive benefit for public health. I am now raising the issue with the European Commission to seek clarity on the issue,” added MEP Clune.
In an online consultation by the European Commission more than 80 percent of the participants expressed their support for the abolition of the seasonal clock-change. If the measures were to be implemented at European level there must still be negotiation with the Council of Ministers and the final decision on implementing this must be a joint decision between the Parliament and the Council of Ministers.
Summertime arrangements in the EU require that the 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.
In America there are also plans to scrap the clock changes with the Sunshine Protection Act.