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Summer time should last all year round

With the clocks set to go back this weekend, Fine Gael Front Bench TD David Stanton has called for summer time to be extended for at least an extra month, and possibly all year round.

“No one looks forward to the dark evenings which set in when we switch over to winter time. But there are strong arguments for extending summer time by at least a month every year, and possibly even for the whole year.

“Longer summer time could save energy costs by reducing consumption and carbon emissions, boost road safety and help tourism. The USA extended summer time by four weeks in 2005 in order to cut down on energy use. The target was to save 10,000 barrels of oil every day.

“American summer time runs for eight months from the second Sunday in March to the first Sunday in November. Summer time in Ireland and across Europe runs for just seven months, following standardisation by the European Union in 1996. But the earlier change to summer time in the USA allows people to save on light bills because the evenings stay brighter for longer.

“The European Union recently conducted a review of European summer time but decided to retain the existing arrangement. But the debate is not over. The summer time issue has been a hugely contentious issue for years in the UK. David Cameron recently said he would consider moving forward an extra hour all year round, potentially leading to a ‘double summertime’ situation in the summer months when the clocks would go forward by two hours.

“Studies broadly suggest that longer daylight hours in the evenings would benefit retailers, sports and other outdoor pursuits, and reduce road traffic accidents. The proposal is backed by road safety campaigners, environmentalists and the tourism industry.

“I have written to the Government seeking an extension of summer time. My Fine Gael colleagues in the European Parliament have also raised the matter at EU level. Unfortunately, our efforts so far have not been successful. Surely the environmental, road safety and tourism benefits mean it would be worth reviewing European summer time arrangements and extending our summers by a few more weeks, if not all year round?”