'VERY POSITIVE RESPONSE' Cllr Seamus Weir.
Mayo County Council has added its voice to the campaign to scrap daylight savings this year in order to boost people’s mental health when dealing with Covid during the winter.
The clocks are due to go back one-hour this Sunday, October 25 in accordance with daylight savings time which will mean shorter days and longer nights over the winter. There has been calls to leave the time as it is to boost people’s mental health and at last week’s monthly meeting of Mayo County Council, a proposal by Cllr Seamus Weir joined calls for the clocks not to go back.
The Knockmore-based Independent said that people are going through ‘horror situations’ as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic and that he feels the extra hour of light would be of benefit to them.
“The time shouldn’t be changed for a lot of reasons, one being mental health. If you reversed the clock you are going to have longer nights in this pandemic. I would call on the minister responsible [Minister for Justice Helen McEntee] not to change the time. It is very important to all the people in society, particularly the older and younger people,” he said.
Cllr Weir said that when he raised the issue on Facebook he got a very positive reaction from the public. He said he could see no reason why the clocks could not remain as they are.
“If you take kids going to school wearing masks, this would give them the opportunity of coming home in brightness and being able to go outside for fresh air, simple things like that. Someone said it cannot change over night but I think it should, because every day now there is a change. The Government have to make decisions for the good of the country, and I would ask the councillors to support this and write to the minister,” he said.
The proposal was supported by the councillors who did not oppose the request to write to the minister. Cllr Damien Ryan said all councillors endorsed the sentiments of Cllr Weir, and he agreed that letter a should be sent to Minister McEntee.
Erris-based councillor Cllr Gerry Coyle felt the concept of not changing the time is not as simple as people might think, pointing out that the whole of Ireland would have to be at the same time for it to work.
Social Democrats co-leader Róisín Shorthall was among the national politicians who asked the Government to consider not changing the clocks next Sunday due to difficulties faced by the people this year.
The practice of moving clocks forward by an hour in spring and back again in the autumn may be scrapped as early as next April, following a vote by MEPs in May 2019. The EU Parliament voted by 410 to 192 to do away with the practice, and the vote will form the basis of discussions with EU countries to produce a final law.
At the time, the then Minister for Justice Charlie Flanagan indicated that the Irish Government would oppose the move, as it would leave two time zones on the island of Ireland because the British Government has stated it will keep daylight savings time.
Daylight savings time was introduced in Europe during World War I to save energy by prolonging evening daylight in summer. The practice remained and is also observed in the United States, New Zealand and some Australian states. However, the majority of countries outside Europe and North American do not adjust their times.