Leo Varadkar: I won’t allow different time zones between Northern Ireland and Republic

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said there was 'plenty of time' to consider the issue
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said there was 'plenty of time' to consider the issue
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Irish Premier Leo Varadkar has said he would not allow a situation where Northern Ireland is in a different time zone to the Republic of Ireland.

Mr Varadkar was answering a question about the decision of the European Parliament to end daylight savings time from April 2021.

After that date EU member states will each have to decide whether to adopt Summer time or Winter time.

However, because the UK is leaving the EU it would not be bound by the European Parliament decision.

In the Dail, the Labour leader Brendan Howlin said there is the possibility of having two different time zones on the island of Ireland, with the UK having indicated that they do not intend to change their current system.

The taoiseach said that he had been “pondering” the issue when he read the report but that Dublin “has not taken a position on it yet, nor have we discussed it”.

Mr Varadkar said he would like to know the views of the House and quipped that “maybe a few indicative votes might be worth experimenting with”.

There was “plenty of time” to consider the issue because of the 2021 deadline.

But the taoiseach stressed: “I could not and certainly would not wish to countenance a situation whereby Northern Ireland was in a different time zone from the rest of Ireland.”

Ulster Unionist MEP Jim Nicholson has lambasted the idea of two time zones on the island. “The whole idea is completely ludicrous,” he said.