Waking at six o’clock this morning, it was still dark.
Lying six degrees west of Greenwich, Dublin has a sunrise that is twenty-five minutes later. Dublin once had its own local time, and I understood that this ended for the convenience of the railways. Only this evening did I discover that it was part of British government legislation in the summer of 1916, when the government was trying to draw Ireland more tightly into the union.
The House of Commons in London was presented with a clause to standardize time:
As from two o’clock in the morning, Dublin mean time, on Sunday the first day of October, nineteen hundred and sixteen, the time for general purposes in Ireland shall be the same as the time for general purposes in Great Britain both during the periods when the Summer Time Act, 1916, is in force and at all other times, and accordingly the enactments mentioned in the Schedule to this Act shall, as from the same date, be repealed to the extent specified in the third column to that Schedule.
In the debate, the clause was opposed by Maurice Healy, member of parliament for north-east Cork
I beg to move to postpone the consideration of the Clause.
We are met under very peculiar circumstances. It is five minutes to twelve o’clock. This Bill has not been accepted on its merits by the Irish Party, it has only been accepted as part of a bargain to pass the Bill connected with the Dublin Corporation. There is no reason whatever why the House should not meet tomorrow, Friday, and there is Saturday as well. I can see no reason in pushing this forward now. If the Bill had been to confer an advantage upon Ireland I am quite sure there would not have been this keen anxiety. I have never seen any anxiety on the part of the present Government to deal with any Irish matter which the Irish people really desired. This is a Bill which the Nationalists admit they have accepted as a bargain for other legislation. Therefore I strongly objected to the Second Reading, and now to the Committee stage being taken, and I suppose we shall be told that it is desirable that the Government should also have the Third Reading. The Irish public should have an opportunity of considering a Bill like this. It is especially one that the working people should be allowed to consider. The position is unreasonable, and I therefore beg to move that you, Mr. Deputy-Chairman, do report Progress, and ask leave to sit again.
Healy’s words fell on death ears. On 1st October 1916, Irish clocks were put back by 34 minutes and 39 seconds to accord with Greenwich time, the time difference of 25 minutes and 21 seconds was eliminated.