Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland and Republic step closer to different time zones

Sammy Wilson
Sammy Wilson

By AP Reporters

The European Union has taken another step towards abolishing the twice-yearly clock change which has been a rite of spring and autumn for decades.

It could potentially lead to Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic being in two different time zones after Brexit for half the year.

Alternatively, under EU 'backstop' plans to keep Northern Ireland in the EU single market after Brexit, it could mean Belfast being stuck in a different time zone from the rest of the UK for six months a year.

A European Parliament committee voted 23 to 11 yesterday to scrap the time change in 2021.

However, legislators left the decision as to which time - summer or winter - should be adopted for a future date. There are divisions within the EU over which should become the standard.

Many member states instituted the time change during the 1970s oil crisis as an attempt to save energy. Since 1996, all EU countries have changed their times simultaneously.

An EU consultation of the public last year showed that 84% were against changing the clock.

The proposal will now be put to the full parliament and the member states.

When the issue emerged last year, DUP MP Sammy Wilson, said: "Brussels may wish to turn the clock back to the good old days when the UK was under their control, but they've no chance."

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