I move the Second Reading of the Summer Time Bill, 1925. In the absence of the Farmer Deputies I anticipate very little opposition. The principle of summer time was accepted by the Dáil last year and the year before and it is, I think, generally approved by the people of the country. It is proposed now to pass a Bill permanently adopting the principle of summer time and leaving a certain elasticity as to the dates for its commencement and ending. Section 3 of the Bill leaves that latitude and provides that by Order, which must be approved by resolution of the Dáil and Seanad, the dates as set out in Section 2 may be departed from and new dates fixed. I think the general view probably would be that such advantages as result from the adoption of summer time would be largely counteracted if there were a difference in time as between this country and Britain, or this country and Northern Ireland. As yet they seem to have arrived at no fixed permanent time for the beginning and ending of summer time, and it was with advertence to that that Section 3 was inserted in the Bill so as to enable a change of dates to be made in any year, if it was considered desirable to make a change.
SUMMER TIME BILL, 1925—SECOND STAGE.
Has the Minister not thought of asking persons responsible in those other countries whether, seeing we have decided on certain dates, it would be very appropriate for them to decide also upon the same dates?
I have had certain correspondence on the subject with the British Government. The position is that last year a conference was held in Paris, at which representatives of Great Britain, France, Belgium and Holland were present. At that conference it was agreed that in future years summer time should operate as from the date following the first Saturday in April to the date following the first Saturday in October. The necessary action to have effect given to that agreement has, in fact, been taken in Belgium, France and Holland; but the British Government, for one reason or another, has taken no steps so far to make the requisite change in the law. I understand the intentions in regard to the present year even are not yet fixed. A private member's Bill is down for discussion in the British House of Commons on Friday next. I have not seen a copy of it, but I am told that, if passed, the Bill will extend summer-time to the period agreed to at the conference in Paris. If this Bill is passed by a free vote of the British House of Commons on Friday, it will be adopted as a Government measure, and will doubtless become law. I think there will probably be general agreement that it would be inconvenient for us to have as a period of summer time one different from that of other West European countries. Accordingly, I have inserted a provision in the Bill leaving latitude for the alteration of dates.