Please set your watch back as you cross the border…

The first time I visited Portugal it was overland through France and Spain. We ended up staying at a small hotel in Santarem, a small town with a beautiful aspect overlooking the Douro Valley, about an hour north of Lisbon.

The first we figured we’d got something majorly wrong was when we turned up for work at a local secondary school (Escola Secundária Sá Da Bandeira) at what we thought was 8.30 that morning to discover there were no students there yet.

We’d set our clocks back to French and Spanish time, not realising that Portugal was in the same UTC/GMT timezone as Ireland and the UK. We’d spent nearly 24 hours in a bubble, with our clocks reading an hour earlier than it actually was. That explained why no one was up in time to give us the hotel breakfast we’d paid for that morning…

Which trival anecdote brings me to Tommy Broughan’s private members Brighter Evenings Bill 2012 in the Dail…

Section 2 requires the Minister for Justice and Equality to prepare and publish a report of an independent group of stakeholders addressing the costs and benefits of advancing the clocks by one hour in order that there would be brighter evenings throughout the year in Ireland. It would also mean that Ireland would be on the same time as the Central European Time Zone. Section 3 allows the Minister to provide for the advancing of clocks in Ireland by one hour for a three year trial period under a daylight saving order. The three year experiment would adopt the single-double summer time model, which would mean that we would be an hour ahead of Greenwich Mean Time, GMT+1, in winter and two hours ahead, GMT+2, in summer.

Hmmm… Tommy is a currently unwhipped Labour TD which roughly translates as ‘don’t hold yer breath lads’…

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