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Scrap Eircode!

Posted 11 May. 2015

Councillor Alan Tobin today welcomed the passing of his motion calling for the proposed National Postcode, Eircode, to be scrapped and he thanked his fellow Meath County Councillors for their foresight and unanimous decisiveness in identifying that Eircode is far from being the best option as a postcode for a modern and growing Irish economy. Councillor Tobin expressed his concerns that the Department of Communications Energy & Natural Resources had shown little foresight in the selection of Eircode and had appeared to base their decision making on historic requirements instead of those suitable for current and future demands. Of particular concern he said was the apparent absence of a comprehensive assessment of other coding systems during the postcode tender process and it had been well noted in national media that the Loc8 Code alternative, which is backed by Enterprise Ireland, an arm of the State, was apparently blocked from participation.

The motion was as follow’s ; “This Council calls on Minister Alex White T.D. and the Department of Communications Energy and Natural Resources to scrap the controversial and confusing Eircode design and asks that a free and open tender, that does not exclude small business, be held for the design of a modern, smart, structured postcode with integrated geolocation (GPS)data.

Councillor Tobin wanted to emphasise the need for an expansive modern postcode that satisfied the needs of Irish businesses which are going to pay most to implement it. A modern code system has numerous advantages over a basic postcode system, Loc8 and similar modern systems can be used to save lives, through accurate location of road traffic accidents, Councils can use it for locating reported illegal dumping, trees down, potholes, flooding and so on. Meath County Council is planning to use the code for life rings along rivers, with accurate GPS location on each life ring storage facility, this means rescue services can get to the scene quicker – thus potentially saving lives.

He called for a fresh tender process which starts off by identifying exactly the needs to be satisfied by a modern postcode and these must include those of property and asset management by Local Government, tourism and sporting needs and the very specific needs of the emergency services who must trial any proposal before implementation.

Councillor Tobin also highlighted that before any postcode is implemented it must be subjected to piloting in a small geographic area as has been done in every other country and he suggested Navan for that purpose. He also stated that full implementation must be done as an integrated process which actively includes Local Authorities, the HSE, the NRA, the Road Safety Authority, the Health & Safety Authority, the National Ambulances Service, the Irish Fire & Emergency Services Association, Fáilte Ireland, the Freight Transport Association of Ireland, the business community and others as appropriate, many of whom, especially Local Authorities, will need dedicated budgets to ensure a full and proper roll-out.

He concluded that none of this has been planned for Eircode and he encouraged other Local Authorities to quickly follow suit with similar motions to ensure that Eircode is scrapped before more than €100m is wasted from the economy and a once in a generation opportunity is wasted.