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Limerick’s opinion: should the seasonal clock change be scrapped?

The clocks will go back tonight at 2am, October 28 – but could this be the beginning of the end for seasonal clock changes in Ireland?

There is currently a proposal in the European Union Commission pushing to scrap the bi-annual practice of changing clocks by one hour following a survey which reveals that 88% of the Europeans want it abolished.

The EU President Jean-Claude Juncker, who is proposing that the end date for this practice should be March of 2021, says: “Millions believe that in the future, summer time should be year round and that’s what will happen.”

Sean Kelly MEP and is member of the European Parliament for Ireland South said that 84% of Irish respondents voted against the practice, adding that they will prefer to have the Summertime Day Light Saving through out the year.

The system was introduced in the 1900’s during the war times to save energy.

Many believe that the seasonal clock change is beneficial to school children and early morning shift workers because the clock change in the Autumn will allow for additional day light for them.

However, there are others who fear that seasonal clock changes have adverse effects on sleep patterns which result in road accidents, pedestrian fatalities, workplace injuries, depression and possible suicide.

Here’s what the people of Limerick have to say:

Mr Tim Byrane, 79, a retired Construction worker who lived and worked in the United Kingdom in the 1960s said in 1962, the clocks were left unchanged.

“Mothers were complaining because they were taking their children to school in the dark,” Byrane says. “Farmers were also  complaining because they were milking their cows in the dark and had to round them up and bring them in.”

“I worked in Civil Engineering construction, we were kind of the same, we did not start work until 9am because it was darker in the morning and brighter in the evenings and they changed it back ever since,” he added.

“They did leave the clocks and it did not work in 1962 and it was a long time ago, there may a good chance it might work now.”

“It is better to leave it as it is, not to change it because the evenings will be brighter and the mornings will be brighter for the kids and we will be getting some sunshine,” said Lisa Moloney, a student at Limerick Institute of Technology

“Why fix something that is not broken?” asked Mary White from Sixmilebridge.

Bukky Sholarin, a mother of four also said: “ It does not really bother me. To be honest, I really don’t mind if they change it or not as I wake up early anyway and the kids are used to waking up early as well, going to school.”

Most of the respondents from University of Limerick (UL) felt there was no need for the scrap, saying to keep things the way they are.

Padraig McCarthy, a final year Business Student believes the impact will be significant on the Republic of Ireland after Brexit if there is a hard border.

He said: “ I suppose with Brexit and everything, if there is going to be two time differences between here and Northern Ireland it could be a tricky situation.”

Seamus Ryan, a Butcher employed in Limerick, favours the EU resolution for a scrap: “There will be longer evenings for kids to enjoy and darker mornings does not make much difference.”

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