At first sight this may seem a very confusing proposal on my part. It might seem that Dublin having one time and the county having another would be very confusing. I think the question would depend entirely on what time the trains would run. I agree with the Minister for Home Affairs that Summer Time is a good thing for the cities, but I maintain that it is not a good thing for the agricultural districts. In other words, it is a good thing in England, because England is a manufacturing country. It is a bad thing in Ireland, because Ireland is an agricultural country, or largely an agricultural country. And as agriculture at the present time is our staple industry, I think we should look at it as above, or at least equal to any other industry in the country. I move this motion in the interests of agriculture in this country. I saw recently that the French Chamber were discussing the Strasburg as against the Greenwich time, and a despatch to the London Times, of March 28th, says:—“The measure has already been laid before the Chamber, and it is anticipated that it will have the united support of the Deputies who represent agricultural interests.” Agricultural interests in the Dáil seem to be taken as a joke, and the agricultural representatives seem to be taken as a joke also. As I said, it is our most important industry, and its interests should get serious consideration. The farmers would be benefitted if the clock were put back instead of forward, but they do not wish to inconvenience the rest of the population. They wish to be let alone. I do not see why in the interests of the workers in the cities and the towns, or any other interest, the farmers should be inconvenienced. If Dublin, for instance, wants to have new time, or Summer Time, by all means let them have it, but that should not be allowed to interfere with other parts of the country whose interests would be better served by sun time.
It is said, in favour of the Summer Time Bill, that our commercial relations with England and Ulster are so important that it would cause great confusion. I saw in the United States while I was there the effect of observing different times. The States of Pennsylvania and New Jersey are separated by the Delawar River. The amount of intercourse, commercial and otherwise, between the two States is indicated by the number of trains and ferry boats across the river. I know that from two or three wharves you get ferry boats crossing every ten minutes, and trains cross certainly every hour or every half-hour. Many of the people living in New Jersey work in Philadelphia, and some of them who live in Philadelphia work in New Jersey, and they seem to get on very well notwithstanding the observance of different times. I never saw any inconvenience, and I lived there for part of a summer. Further, I saw trains going from New York to Philadelphia and Philadelphia to New York where there were different times, and there was no inconvenience. There is a Stock Exchange in New York, and a Stock Exchange at Philadelphia, and there does not seem to be any inconvenience with regard to commerce between the two States. Each place was allowed to do as it pleased, and there was no inconvenience. I think if the trains ran here at the old time there would be no great inconvenience. The only inconvenience would be our intercourse with England. That is the only really important thing. Our commercial intercourse with England, I think, is no greater than that of France with England, and yet the French and English times are different. I know that there is a good deal of feeling that because a thing is adopted in England it should be adopted here, but conditions in the two countries are entirely different. Another feeling—and I do not think it is enforced upon us by the terms of the Treaty—is that if it rains in London we ought to put up our umbrellas in Ireland!