With the European Parliament voting today to review Daylight Saving Time and consider abolishing it, one doubts anyone stopped to think what impact it could have on the humble GAA player.
In fact, I've read the 48 page report they recently published on the positives and negatives of DST and 'GAA' was not even mentioned once. There is, however, evidence that shows that the bi-annual clock change has negative effects on the mental and physical health of people, not to mention animals.
From an Irish perspective, Fine Gael MEP Sean Kelly has been one of those campaigning for the abolishment of the time change, saying 'We think that there's no need to change the clocks.'
It came in during World War One, it was supposed to be for energy savings - the indications are that there are very few energy savings, if any - and there are an awful lot of disadvantages to both human beings and animals that make it outdated at this point.
Now as a former president of the GAA, one would hope Kelly has thought about GAA players in all this. You see the issue arises when you contemplate what a simple abolition of DST would mean. Contrary to what you may presume, it is actually what we refer to as 'summer time', meaning we would no longer put the clocks forward every spring. So basically it would get darker an hour earlier during the height of summer.
Won't somebody please think of the GAA player!?
With the GAA fixture schedule being the way that it is, you'll often find club matches set for 8pm on a weeknight, including important club championship games. While this isn't a massive issue for anyone living locally it can be a very stressful experience for players who have to travel long distances, from the likes of Dublin. If DST is gotten rid of then it would mean matches would almost certainly need to be moved forward an hour.
That would be an absolute disaster. Obviously it could affect other sports as well but to be frank, I don't play them so I'm not as worried about that.
The good news is that that the report clarifies that an abolition of the DST directive would not mean that we would have to get rid of summer time, it would just put the power back in the hands of individual countries:
Given that the Member States have transposed the directive into national law, repealing the directive would not automatically abolish summer time EU-wide. It would only end the harmonisation arrangements and bring the competence on summer time back to the level of the Member States.
So we could opt to keep summer time and get rid of winter time. It would seem that the general consesus among the public here is that that would be best idea and the only real reason to do the opposite would be to show some sort of solidarity with our central European brethren even if it was to our own detriment, and when would we ever do something like that?