Eircodes never or rarely used by over 60% of people

System was introduced in 2015 at a cost of €38m – nearly €20m more than budgeted for

People surveyed were asked how often, if at all, they had used Eircode for example, for postage or deliveries in the past year. Photograph: Eric Luke

People surveyed were asked how often, if at all, they had used Eircode for example, for postage or deliveries in the past year. Photograph: Eric Luke

 

More than six in 10 Irish people never or rarely use the Eircode system, more than four years after its introduction at a cost of €38 million, an official report has found.

The latest civil service customer satisfaction survey asked a nationally representative sample of people for the first time about individual usage of the postal code.

Specifically, it asked “when providing your address (for example, for postage or deliveries), how often, if at all, have you used your Eircode in the past year?”

The survey, carried out by polling firm Ipsos MRBI, found that 30 per cent of the population never use their home or business’s unique seven-character code. Another 32 per cent said they only used it occasionally.

Hands-off approach

Just over a fifth (22 per cent) of the population use Eircode frequently while 14 per cent said they always used it, according to the findings, which were commissioned by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform.

The face-to-face survey of more than 2,000 people was carried out in March last year.

Jack Chambers, Fianna Fáil’s communications spokesman, said:“After the big launch a number of years ago it appears the Government have a hands-off approach in ensuring full operational delivery and effectiveness of Eircode, with the majority of the population not using the service.”

“Eircode was developed at a cost of €38 million – which was nearly €20 million more than it was budgeted for.

“For a government that was so obsessed with spin and PR, they have been silent on highlighting the use of this multimillion euro endeavour to the public.”

A Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment spokeswoman said “an independent survey” carried out by another pollster, Ámarach, in November “found that 94 per cent of people are using Eircodes”.

Stark discrepancy

Asked why there was such a stark discrepancy in the findings of both surveys, the spokeswoman said “research methodologies, sample size and demographic can all affect outcomes of surveys”.

The spokeswoman said there were other indicators of its growing use, citing hits on the Eircode Finder website, a rise in businesses using the code and its use by satnav providers and the National Ambulance Service.

Mark Griffin, secretary general of the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, which oversees Eircode, told a parliamentary committee in January 2016 that the postcode system’s use would increase dramatically that year.

Launched in July 2015, the system was expected to cost about €18 million.

The State’s spending watchdog, the Comptroller and Auditor General Séamus McCarthy, who put the final bill at €38 million, has said “It is not clear that benefits to the value-projected will be achieved.”