98. Deputy Ruth Coppinger asked the Minister for Justice and Equality his views on the island of Ireland having two different time zones following the position of the European Union not to have seasonal time changes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [15781/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): Following an EU wide consultation last year, the EU Commission published a proposal to abolish the twice-yearly clock change. Under the current version of the proposal, the practice of a twice-yearly clock change would cease from 2021.
Discussions with Members States on the proposal are on-going via the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy (TTE) Council. Ireland is one of a large number of Member States which has said that more time is needed to consider the proposal, and in order that Member States can allow for coordination with neighbouring countries.
In this regard, and as the Deputy will be aware, my Department ran a public consultation process on the proposal to end seasonal clock changes. A report on the consultation exercise is being prepared and will be considered by an Interdepartmental Steering Group which my Department chairs. I intend to present the Group's report to Government shortly. Following on from this, more details of the consultation exercise and its outcome will be published on the Department's website.
Ireland's position at all times has been that any measure which resulted in differing time zones between Ireland and the UK would present particular challenges for the island of Ireland. The position adopted by Ireland on the proposal will be informed by this important consideration.