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Ireland's new postcode system: Everything you need to know

Changes: Every household will be notified of their Eircode
Changes: Every household will be notified of their Eircode

As Ireland’s first national post code service Eircode launches, every single home and business in the country will get its own seven-digit code.

First proposed over a decade ago, the €27 million scheme aims at reducing confusion surrounding non-unique addresses, which, according to the Department of Communications, accounts for some 35 pc of Irish addresses, particularly in rural areas where many homes just have the townland as its given address.

However, the system has come in for heavy criticism from some industry figures, and many have questioned its need since the system is optional.

So just what are people’s problem with Ireland’s new postcode, and what does the public need to know about the new system?

Eircode Postcodes:

  1. 2.2m homes and businesses across the country will be receive their new code in the post in the coming weeks.
  2. Every household will be notified of their Eircode, no one needs to apply for it. Current postcodes like Dublin 1 becoming D01, while Galway gets H.
  3. The Eircode system will be optional, so homes do not have to use their codes if they do not want to.
  4. The new postcodes will not eliminate any existing addresses.
  5. The Eircode website is now live, and there is a limit of 15 searches a day for people to look up addresses.

Among the chief issues with the system are:

  1. Each code that is generated for each address is random, meaning the code for adjacent properties bear no relation to each other.
  2. The Irish Fire and Emergency Services Association have warned the random nature of the codes could “cost lives” as the random design cannot be learned and are not predictable so that emergency services can find localities easily from memory.
  3. Many have warned that an error in relating the code could go unnoticed and send emergency services to the wrong location.
  4. Companies such as FedEx, DHL, UPS, Pallet Express, and BOC Ireland have all publicly declared that they will not use Eircode due to its design. They said that Eircode provides the longitude and latitude of an address but that this has already been available to the postal delivery sector for more than two decades.
  5. Up to 50,000 placements are inaccurate or completely missing from the system because they are in the Irish language.
  6. Eircode does not work with Google Maps.

David Kearns