Time Lord fails to see the light in Broughan’s Bill

Brighter evenings proposal does exactly what it says on the order paper

Tommy Broughan: We’d have less depression, fewer traffic fatalities, lower fuel bills, fewer carbon gas emissions, more sports and leisure opportunities with consequent reduced obesity levels.   Photograph: Frank Miller

Tommy Broughan: We’d have less depression, fewer traffic fatalities, lower fuel bills, fewer carbon gas emissions, more sports and leisure opportunities with consequent reduced obesity levels. Photograph: Frank Miller

Sat, Jul 6, 2013, 13:38

It’s one of the few Dáil Bills whose meaning is clear. The Brighter Evenings Bill means exactly what it says on the order paper – move the clocks forward an hour for brighter evenings year round.

Just by its title Labour TD Tommy Broughan’s Bill is an innovative Dáil reform. Compare that to the Land and Conveyancing Amendment Bill (home repossessions) or the Health Amendment Bill (increasing the cost of private hospital beds among other things).

And the light-seeking TD assured his colleagues it was a Bill that would cure many ills.

It would give us more vitamin D – Ireland has one of highest deficiency rates of that vitamin in the world.

We’d have less depression, fewer traffic fatalities, lower fuel bills, fewer carbon gas emissions, more sports and leisure opportunities with consequent reduced obesity levels.

And it even offers an economic benefit the seeker of light said – more shopping time.

But the “Time Lord” as he dubbed Minister for Justice Alan Shatter said no to the principle of the legislation.

The Minister with Responsibility for Time, who reminds us twice a year to put the clock forward or back, has a much simpler solution. There’s no need for legislation – just get up an hour earlier.

He did agree, however, to refer the Bill to the Oireachtas justice committee, whose chairman David Stanton is an advocate of time change and believes that all EU states “must agree and jump together”.

The Minister for Time also told TDs that if Ireland was in (time) line with much of continental Europe Sligo’s sunrise on Christmas Day 2013 would not be until 9.54 am while sunset on midsummer’s night would not have been until 11.12pm.

Broughan pointed out that Ben Franklin first suggested daylight saving changes in 1784, and Ireland remained 25 minutes and 21 seconds behind Britain from August 1880 until October 1916.

Sinn Féin’s philosophical Michael Colreavy informed the House that Aristotle once said “time is the most unknown of all unknown things”.

He added: “This House can legislate for many things, from taxes to peace and war, but we cannot legislate for something that I imagine most of us would desire, that is more time.”

He noted that Franklin suggested time change to “reduce the amount of money people had to spend on candles” and he concluded by reciting poetry: “I will stay in bed and be just fine; happy daylight saving time.”

Tommy noted a previous TD who occasionally used to sing part of his speech and had released a video of his latest album, and suggested they should expect a book of poetry from Deputy Colreavy.

The Minister quipped: “I’m disappointed the Deputy didn’t mention my novel.”

Fianna Fáil’s Timmy Dooley told him: “That’s not one for daylight.”