‘FERMANAGH time’ could have a whole new meeting after Brexit, with the possibility now emerging not just of a hard border between here and the south, but of an entirely different time zone!
Following a continent-wide public consultation which overwhelmingly backed the idea, the EU Commission has proposed scrapping the seasonal changing of the clocks. Under the plan, you would no longer lose an hour in the spring, but nor would you get that extra hour in bed in the autumn.
Much more worrying, however, is the prospect of the EU proceeding with the plan after the UK’s exit, and the UK not following suit. In that scenario, it would have to be decided if the North aligned to London time or Dublin time. If it was insisted it remained aligned with London time, for six months each year it could be one time on one side of the road in Pettigo and an hour later on the other.
The Herald contacted the DUP head office to ask, in that unlikely but possible scenario, where the North should look to London or Dublin. Arlene Foster did not respond with a comment.
Fellow Fermanagh MLA, the UUP’s Rosemary Barton, did respond but refused to be drawn on the matter.
Ms Barton said she was not worried about the scenario ever arising. Given all 28 national governments of the EU now have to vote on the proposal before it can be passed, she is likely right not to worry too much.
“Given that time zones throughout the world are based on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) in London it is unlikely that any significant change would take place without other countries in Europe working in co-operation with London and GMT,” said Ms Barton.
“The matter of whether the UK continues to have the seasonal clock change with British Summer Time (BST) will be for detailed discussion if and when the need arises.
“There is quite simply no prospect of Northern Ireland ever having a different time zone to the rest of the United Kingdom regardless of who or what is advancing such an idea.”
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