New postal location code system to be launched in July

Some 2.2m homes and businesses to get seven-digit codes under Eircode system

Every address in the State will be allocated a unique seven-digit code.

Every address in the State will be allocated a unique seven-digit code.

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The new postal location code system will be launched in early July when 2.2 million homes and businesses in the State will be assigned individual codes, the Department of Communication has confirmed.

The new system, called Eircode, will become live immediately after the enactment of the Communications Regulation (Postal Services) Amendment Bill 2015.

The Bill is currently at Committee Stage and is expected to complete its passage through the Oireachtas by the end of the month with the launch date being provisionally set for July 6th.

At that stage the company behind the new code, also known as Eircode, will write to 2.2 million addresses in the State informing them of their individual code.

It will be the first postal code in Ireland besides the long- standing district code for Dublin. The project, with a cost of more than €20 million to date, was first mooted more than a decade ago when Noel Dempsey was Minister for Communications.

The code that was chosen has been developed by Capita Ireland, through the Eircode subsidiary. The system will be formally launched by the Minister for Communications, Alex White.

Every address in the State will be allocated a unique seven-digit code. The first three digits, made up of one letter and two numbers, are based on major national routes and will identify the area. The second set of four, made up of letters and numbers, will be randomly assigned and will provide a unique code for each address. The format will be along the lines of A65 3M2N.

However, in Dublin elements of the old postal codes will be retained. For example, the first three digits for Finglas will be D11 and for Phibsboro will be D07. The postal code of Dublin 6W will be D06W.

Eircode has accessed more than 100 million entries in 20 different databases to identify the 2.2 million addresses.

The company has said the new code will overcome the issue that 35 per cent of addresses are not unique.

The system chosen has met with criticism. Unions representing some workers in emergency services have said it cannot identify a stretch of road (where an accident might have occurred). Several freight organisations and courier companies have said they will not use the code. Some have cited the random nature of each assigned address, contending that they bear no relation to nearby addresses. Others have argued that systems based more on GPS positioning should have been used.

Separately, a group asked to explore new opportunities for the postal services in Ireland have recommended diversification into financial services, social enterprise, public service delivery and “white labelling”.

The group has been chaired by entrepreneur Bobby Kerr and its report, released today, has predicted that post offices can thrive if they diversify into offering new products.

The group found that a disproportionate amount of business is being conducted in relatively few of the country’s 1,140 post offices.

Two-thirds of transactions are conducted in 300 post offices, while another 48 per cent of post offices account for just 12 per cent of total business.

It recommends four new avenues for An Post to explore: financial services, more Government services, HSE payments and the electoral register.

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