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Justice Committee agrees to consider issue next month

Fine Gael Cork East TD and Chair of the Oireachtas Justice Committee, David Stanton, has today (Wednesday) said that it’s time for us to seriously consider altering our current summertime arrangements to benefit the economy and society. Deputy Stanton made his comments during a Topical Issues debate in the Dáil.

“For a number of years I have been raising the possibility of extending our summertime period which runs from the last weekend in March until the last weekend in October. Research in the UK and the US shows that such a move could have numerous benefits. They include a reduction in electricity consumption and carbon emissions, a fall in road deaths and a boost to tourism and leisure industries as people benefit from an hour extra of daylight in the evenings. It has also been suggested that an increase in daylight in the evening would lead to a reduction in obesity and crime levels.

“In the US, summertime was extended for four weeks in 2007, beginning in the second weekend of March and ending the first weekend in November. In 2008, the US Department of Energy published a report stating that the change had saved enough energy to power 100,000 homes for over a year or 1.3 trillion watt-hours per day, resulting in savings of $76 million. Since the change road collisions have also fallen.

“In the UK, the Daylight Saving Bill passed its second reading in the House of Commons in December 2010. Estimates there indicate that more daylight in the early evenings would deliver a boost to British tourism of an estimated £2.5bn per annum and up to 80,000 new jobs in leisure and tourism. This would provide a real boost to any economy in the current climate. A similar boost could be expected here if summertime was extended.

“I believe that, given the benefits, the time has come to re-examine our summertime arrangements. At a meeting of the Oireachtas Committee for Justice, Equality & Defence today, it was agreed that the Committee would consider the matter in November. Minister Shatter, during the Topical Issues debate also spoke in favour of this approach. The Committee could also seek views from the public and interested organisations and liaise with counterparts in the UK and other European Parliaments.”