Ireland will operate a six-digit postcode system from 2011, the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Eamon Ryan TD has announced.
Ireland is currently the only European country which does not have a postcode system in operation. However, from 2011, Irish addresses will carry digits and letters.
According to the Department of Communications, the new system will likely use an alphanumeric postal system (ABC 123) to identify clusters of houses. For example, Ms A Murphy, Apt 7, Blue Building, Main Street, Pearse Street, Athlone D02 123 ATH 123.
However, the precise design of the new codes will not be finalised until the tender process is complete, the department said.
Speaking on RTE’s Morning Ireland, Ryan said the new postcode system would give the country a more efficient postal system and would also offer a locational code system that could be used for a whole range of other services.
The returns across the economy were “massive”, Ryan said, and would help Ireland move towards a digital economy.
He also highlighted the fact that a new system would offer a real opportunity for people in rural Ireland to buy items on the internet and have them delivered with no hassle to their address.
The minster estimated the initial cost of the system in terms of allocating and feeding the codes into a computer system at €10-15m. The implementation of the system will now go out to tender.
Also speaking on RTE’s Morning Ireland, the chief executive of the Irish Exporters Association (IEA), John Whelan, said the postcode system would form one of the steps towards Ireland becoming a smart economy.
Whelan highlighted the advantages the new system would offer Ireland within a global trading scenario, citing the particular example of the high-tech pharmaceutical industry, which he said has clinical trials coming in and out of the country that would urgently need to get to the correct address.
In not operating a postcode system Ireland is currently outside the world’s track-and trace-system, leaving it at a slight disadvantage, he added.
Whelan also said that in the long run it was possible that the postcode system could prove cost-neutral to the State as it would throw up a whole range of commercial services that whoever develops the system would be able to take advantage of.
By Jennifer Yau
Photo: Ireland’s new six-digit postcode system will make its postal system more efficent, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Eamon Ryan TD said.