33. Deputy Michael Moynihan asked the Minister for Justice and Equality if he has discussed the proposal of the clock change with his EU counterparts recently. [15420/19]
Minister for Justice and Equality (Deputy Charles Flanagan): The proposal from the EU Commission would end seasonal clock changes with effect from 2021, with each Member State electing whether to remain on summer or winter time year round. At present this proposal remains under discussion and has yet to be adopted.
Discussions with Members States have been progressed via the Transport, Telecommunications and Energy (TTE) Council and associated working group since the proposal was published last September and are continuing - the next meeting of the Council is in June.
A number of Member States, including Ireland, are conducting national consultation exercises to inform their position, and we are also amongst those Member States which have argued that more time is required to properly consider the proposal and its implications. All Member States have identified a requirement for coordination with neighbouring countries. This is a particular consideration for us in the context of the UK and Northern Ireland.
An Interdepartmental Steering Group was established by my Department to consider the proposal, to guide a public consultation process and report to Government. The public consultation comprised a public survey and invitation of submissions from individuals and stakeholders. The Department also commissioned an opinion poll of a sample of respondents aligned with the national population.
A detailed analysis of the responses has been carried out and I will bring a report to Government shortly to assist in formulating the Irish position on the proposal. Clearly, the implications for timezones on the island will be a key consideration in our approach.