It’s not a postcode, it’s a smart code – Eircodes to go live in spring 2015

28 Apr 2014

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New unique postcodes called Eircodes will be given to every address in Ireland – some 2.2m of them – by spring 2015, according to the company responsible for rolling out Ireland’s long overdue postcode system.

“Each Eircode can be mapped to show its precise location anywhere in the country,” said Liam Duggan, business development director of Capita Ireland, the company that leads the consortium tasked with developing and deploying the new location codes.

“It’s a new way of telling people precisely where you are and how they can find you.”

Duggan said that Ireland is setting a new world standard with this design of post code – which is a pretty tall order since the country is one of the last in the developing world to get postcodes.

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

The contact was awarded to Capita Business Support Services Ireland last year with support from BearingPoint, Autoaddress and Strand Communications.

According to Duggan the new Eircodes will be provided free to every household by Spring next year.

Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte said the Government has officially agreed the technical design of Eircode and the company will get its operations underway to create an Eircode database of all 2.2m addresses and their unique Eircodes. 

Capita has already begun working with a number of government departments to encode the addresses in their databases.

Each Eircode has two parts – a 3-character Routing Key to help with mail sorting, and a 4-character Unique Identifier that identifies the exact address. More details on the design are available on www.eircode.ie.

“Eircode is much more than just a postcode,” said Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte. “It’s a smart code for all Irish addresses.  By giving an Eircode to each address, it will make it easier for various community and business services to locate households.  

“It’ll also help in the planning and delivery of health, social and education services by local and national government. Furthermore, it fits in well with many of the initiatives set out in the Medium Term Economic Strategy and Action Plan for Jobs.”

The chief executive of An Post Donal Connell said that An Post is planning to make use of Eircode across its systems.

The cost of the code

The total cost of the postcode rollout is estimated at €27m.

However, this figure is being disputed by Gary Delaney from rival postcode player Loc8 which has built a system already used by emergency services and government departments that he was willing to hand over to the State for free.

Delaney envisages the total cost of the rollout of the Government-backed Eircode could be around €100m.

Delaney warned that the new Eircodes will be for letterboxes, meaning that locations to which mail is sent but do not have letterboxes – such as sports grounds – will be overlooked.

He also totted up the cost of a myriad of consultants dating back to 2003 as well as the work that will be required by small businesses, emergency services and the wider economy to accommodate the new postcodes as bringing the real cost to more than €100m.

Post box image via Shutterstock

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Editor John Kennedy is an award-winning technology journalist.

editorial@siliconrepublic.com