Govt goes postal over high-tech failure

2 Jan 2003

Communications regulator ComReg chose an apt week in which to announce that its interim target for the delivery of single piece priority mail for 2003 is being set at a no-nonsense 94pc for next-day delivery nationwide.

As An Post continues to garner airtime and column inches for the failure of its new high-tech sorting system to recognise the difference between business and personal mail over the Christmas period, the national postal service is facing a stern directive to fast-track its much vaunted efforts at improved efficiency.

A Government probe got under way today to get to the bottom of the Yuletide catastrophe that saw more than one million Christmas cards and other mail posted in the Greater Dublin area still undelivered, days after the big day – apparently because the new technology wasn’t designed to recognise anything other than standard business letters.

In a statement today the regulator said: “The principal issues considered in setting the interim quality of service target for 2003 include the specific policy direction to ComReg from the Minister for Communications, Marine and Natural Resources; targets set by other national regulatory authorities; the EU Commission’s position on provision of ‘inefficient service’ and various reports from An Post”.

At the time, An Post’s head of communications, John Foley, said the delays were caused by a combination of late posting and difficulties with sorting festive cards. “Such items tended to be in coloured envelopes of irregular size with handwritten addresses all of which cause problems for automatic sorting,” he said.

When contacted by nobody from An Post was available for comment.

By Suzanne Byrne