Letters to the Editor: 'Benefits of simplifying time zones not heard in debate'

The Government is refusing progress by opposing a perfectly sensible idea from the EU to get rid of winter/summer time and finally eliminate an old-fashioned burdensome practice.

Most EU countries agreed to this. Politicians are saying this would mean “multiple” time zones in Ireland. (I thought I might have to change my watch going to Dublin!)

Supposedly the logic is that Northern Ireland will continue to follow the British way. So they will continue to change their clocks, watches, phones, computers, TVs, microwaves, cameras and security systems twice a year.

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But now we will have to continue to do the same, presumably in case we cross the Border. How totally bizarre.

People argue about how bright it is when kids are going to school but any institution, including schools and workplaces, can change their start or end times to suit.

People then argue in response that businesses need fixed time frames to work with, so fine, then let’s fix it at one standard and let business decide about how they deal with that.

RTÉ’s news report on the matter briefly interviewed two people who wanted to keep it as is – one from the North and another from near the Border.

Not one dissenter was invited who wants to eliminate the huge inefficiency associated with this. Where’s the other side of this debate (if it even is a debate)?

With the internet and everything becoming ever more global, people should think again about this.

The current situation can throw up huge anomalies which can be solved by simplifying – ie eliminating – the current practice.

You don’t often get the opportunity to improve things for nothing. Yet our Government opposes it because whatever happens in Northern Ireland, we want to be the same at all costs.

This makes absolutely no sense.

John Jennings

Westport, Co Mayo

Brexit will set us back 30 years, so an hour makes no difference

It is interesting to see Irish politicians wanting to retain British Summer Time in the event of Brexit, as they are very concerned about the one-hour time difference between crossing from the Republic into Northern Ireland.

Perhaps they should be more worried about the likelihood of there being a 30-year leap backwards.

Liam Power

Dundalk, Co Louth

Judges are entirely to blame for shocking insurance mess

I am the owner of a guesthouse in Dublin. I have recently been advised by my insurance broker that none of my staff is allowed to attempt the Heimlich manoeuvre unless specifically trained in the technique. This is in case the choking person suffers a fractured rib or some other injury.

The broker issued this advice on the instructions of some of the insurance companies he deals with.

I also have significant anecdotal evidence that medical personnel are much less likely now to stop at the scene of an accident or assist in other medical situations on a voluntary basis.

These relatively recent changes are in addition to the difficulties being faced for a long time by crèches, festivals and sports organisations, as well as every business in this country.

These changes in our cultural norms are shocking and sad in equal measure. It is no longer just an issue of money, but of lives.

I believe that the judges of this country are entirely responsible for this mess. The very high awards in this country not only push up insurance costs in their own right but also encourage frivolous claims.

I can only speculate as to why the judges in this country think it is reasonable to give out awards which are four times the average in Europe.

Is it stupidity, naivety, Marxist tendencies, excessive fraternising with the rest of the legal profession, or is it that given that they are paid approximately four times as much as the average person in this country that they in turn consider the value of money to be just a quarter of what the rest of us think?

Furthermore, the above-mentioned instruction from the insurance broker exactly parallels a recent High Court judgment that medical personnel must be absolutely confident in their assessment of a medical diagnosis. In other words, that unless one is absolutely certain of what one is doing then one should not be involved.

If the judiciary cannot sort out this problem soon then the Government must act by legislating or even by constitutional change.

Change must occur before the very fabric of our society is torn apart.

Patrick Finn

Egans Guesthouse, Dublin 9

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