Belfast Telegraph

Irish time zone change proposals blasted as 'ludicrous'

People travelling between Northern Ireland and the Republic would have to adjust their watches as they cross the border

By Claire Cromie

A proposal to move the clocks forward by an hour in the Republic of Ireland has been labelled "ludicrous" by an Ulster Unionist MLA.

The Brighter Evenings Bill, proposed in the Dail by Tommy Broughan TD, would put Ireland in the Central European Time Zone by moving clocks forward by one hour.

If adopted the bill would see Ireland skip forward an hour permanently and operate off a different timezone to Britain to have an extra hour of daylight in evenings.

The move would initially be a three-year experiment.

But it would mean people travelling between Northern Ireland and the Republic would have to adjust their watches as they crossed the border.

Tom Elliott, UUP MLA for Fermanagh and South Tyrone, said the change would affect dozens of border towns in Northern Ireland.

"We have the likes of Belcoo in Fermanagh and Blacklion in Cavan which are essentially the same settlement divided by the border. You cross a bridge between the two, and if these plans went ahead, you would be stepping into a different time zone.

"Then there is Belleek which is split across the border. "

He added: "What about traders and bank transfers for people living in border areas? It doesn't appear that much thought has been given to how this proposal might affect them at all. It seems ludicrous.

"Obviously there are different time zones across the United States and parts of Europe because they are so large, but it's just not needed in the British Isles.

"It is strange that the proposal is to bring the Republic of Ireland into the same time zone as central Europe when there is no land area contact with central Europe. In terms of location, the Republic of Ireland is obviously far away from central Europe."

The Oireachtas Committee on Justice, Defence and Equality is asking for written submissions from interested groups or individuals to issues raised by the Brighter Evenings Bill.

Former Justice Minister Alan Shatter last year opposed the plan, saying anyone who wanted longer, brighter evenings should get out of bed earlier.

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