Metrication in Ireland
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Ireland inherited the imperial system of measurement from Britain, and these units continued to be used after Irish independence. Due to Ireland's membership in the European Union (EU) metric units were introduced in the 1970s, with the changeover to metric completed by 2005.
During the First World War and after the Easter Rising, Charles A Stanuell, former President of the Statistical and Social Inquiry Society of Ireland published a paper advocating the use of the metric system and a decimal currency in the UK, of which Ireland was then a part.
Metrication began in the State in the 1970s and by 2005 was almost completed; the only exception being that the imperial pint (568 ml) is still used in bars for reasons of tradition. The phrase a "glass of beer" is a colloqual expression for a half-pint (284 ml). All other places must sell liquids measured in millilitres and litres.
Distance signs had displayed kilometres since the 1970s but road speed limits were in miles per hour until January 2005, when they were finally changed to kilometres per hour. Since 2005 all new cars sold in Ireland have speedometers that display only kilometres per hour; odometers generally became metric as well.
The metric system is the only system taught in schools. Beginning in 1970, textbooks were changed to metric. Goods in shops are labelled in metric units.
References in Oireachtas debates
- That the Government be asked to appoint a Commission, with power to examine voluntary witnesses, to inquire into and report on the desirability or otherwise of adopting the Metric System in Saorstát Eireann, Senator de Loughry (April 1923). "Notice of motion".
- "Question to the Minister for Education to request support for the teachers association vote in favour of metrication". 1951.
- "Question to the Minister for Finance on plans to introduce decimal coinage and the metric system". May 1964.
- "Question to the Minister for Industry and Commerce to request for a decision to be made in favour of metrication". June 1967.
- "Question to the Minister for Industry and Commerce". October 1967.
- In the area of prepackaged goods the changeover is virtually complete, "Question to the Minister for Industry and Commerce on enforcement of the regulations on food pricing (in metric)". November 1987.
- "Question to the Minister for Industry and Commerce". December 1989.
- "Question to the Minister for Transport on the timetable for metric speed limits". June 2003.
- "Question to the Minister for Transport on the timetable for metric speed limits". October 2003.