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Quinn clocks up a plan for summertime all year round

SENATOR Feargal Quinn is urging the Government to follow British proposals to lengthen the stretch of long summer evenings and push back GMT by one hour.

British prime minister David Cameron has confirmed that he will consider plans in the autumn to permanently move the UK's clocks forward.

The proposals are being supported by road safety groups and environmental activists who believe it will reduce the number of traffic accidents and the requirement for electricity in the evenings.

And Senator Feargal Quinn, who has been pushing this motion for 15 years, said that such a move in Ireland would bring a spectrum of advantages.

"I am such an enthusiast about this proposal; it has all of the benefits and none of the costs," he said.



Quality

"The benefits it would bring are huge, in terms of tourism, business, the environment and on the road. But more than anything else it is the quality of life it would bring; we would all get an extra hour's daylight when we need it most.

"And I am suggesting that even if Britain doesn't move on it, we should go ahead in Ireland," he added.

However, Angus MacNeil, MP for the Western Isles in Scotland, said that this could potentially be a dangerous proposal for people in the northern reaches of Great Britain and Ireland.

"In some areas in Scotland, the sun does not rise until 9am in winter mornings," he said.

"That effectively makes dealing with the forces of darkness harder. It will mean very dark mornings in the winter.

But Senator Quinn said school hours could change in winter to offset any dangers for school children travelling to school in the winter darkness.

"It would just mean hours of darkness in mid December to mid January, that's all," he said. "We can live with that quite easily even if it means school starting time delayed by half an hour."

In Ireland the changes would mean that on the winter solstice, the sun won't rise until at least 9.40am -- but it would mean that sunset in the west of Ireland would be stretched to almost 11.30pm.

David Cameron has signalled that he would consider the switch, in an attempt to boost tourism in Britain.

"We certainly will look at it," the prime minister said. "The argument will be won when people across the country feel comfortable with the change."

hnews@herald.ie