Ireland’s Eircode postcode system won’t be smart enough, truckers warn

25 Aug 2014

Ireland’s forthcoming postcode system Eircode, which is due to be introduced in spring 2015, won’t be fit for purpose and may be redundant as a navigation tool, the Freight Transport Association (FTA) has warned.

The association’s general manager Neil McDonnell told that members of the organisation have written to the newly appointed Communications Minister Alex White, seeking to meet him and ask him not to introduce the new postcode system.

Ireland is lamentably one of the last countries in Western Europe to introduce postcodes.

Postcodes were meant have been rolled out on 1 January 2008, which was the deadline set by then-Communications Minister Noel Dempsey.

After a contact was awarded to Capita Business Support Services Ireland last year with support from BearingPoint, Autoaddress and Strand Communications, it was revealed the system would go live in spring 2015.

Each Eircode has two parts – a three-character routing key to help with mail sorting, and a four-character unique identifier that identifies the exact address. 

A postcode fit for the smart economy?

However, the FTA has suggested that at best the system could be retained as a national unique property identifier.

“It makes no provision for the smart economy, geo technologies or geo apps,” McDonnell said. “There is literally nothing in Eircode that could not have been developed for London’s first postcodes in 1857.

“It is an obsolete system before it is even introduced,” McDonnell claimed.

In a briefing note on the FTA’s website, the organisation claims Eircode is simply a repackaged version of the An Post GeoDirectory database, in an ‘A65 B2CD’ format.

“The approximately 2m unique personal and business addresses in the GeoDirectory have been assigned to one of 139 post towns.

“These will have on average 15,000, and up to 80,000 unique addresses in each. Most significant for our members is that the ‘B2CD’ element is entirely randomised.

“Take, for example, two adjacent houses in Glasnevin, Dublin. One could be D11 ZXQ8, the other one D11 67TR. The four-character unique identifier is completely random, with no sequence or algorithm linking one house to the other.

“This makes Eircode redundant as a navigation tool,” the FTA said.

Navigation image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years