THE ISLAND of Ireland could have two different time zones after Brexit if the Irish government adopts European recommendations to stop bi-annual clock changes.
The European Commission wants to end the practice of putting the clock forward one hour in March and backward one hour in October.
Today, the Irish cabinet signed off on a Department of Justice proposal to open a public consultation process on the issue.
The European Commission wants the last mandatory change to take place in spring 2019 with a view to full implementation across the union by 2021.
However with Britain set to exit the EU, they will be under no obligation to follow Europe’s example, nor do they have any plans to ditch the practice.
In the event of a no-deal Brexit, Northern Ireland would continue to operate under the current system, meaning Dublin and Belfast would have different time zones for seven months a year.
Despite revealing plans for the consultation, Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan said having two different time zones on the island of Ireland was not a welcome proposition.
The European Commission’s proposal requires support from 28 national governments and MEPs to become law.
Under the plans, member states would get to decide whether they want to maintain permanent summer or wintertime.
Negative health impacts
Following the last mandatory change on March 31 next year, member states wishing to permanently switch back to wintertime can make one last seasonal clock change on October 27, 2019.
Following that date, seasonal changes would no longer be possible.
The European Commission said 84 per cent of respondents to a public consultation were in favour of abolishing the changes, citing negative health impacts, increased road accidents and a lack of energy savings.
It believes businesses will benefit as it will make planning easier in the energy and transport sectors and simplify time-based applications.