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Irish government issues fresh tender for national post code project

Posted By James Cartledge On July 12, 2013 @ 4:23 pm In Regulation,Technology | No Comments

Minister Pat Rabbitte confirmed to the Irish Senate last week that implementation of a postcode system went out to tender at the end of June.

Bidders are expected to return their tenders by the end of this month, to be evaluated in August before a government recommendation is made in September.

Rabbitte said there would be “considerable” advantage to Ireland in having a post code system, for businesses involved in logistics, but also for public service agencies. Emergency services will be better able to reach properties, while government agencies would be more able to carry out activities like tax collection.

“Services will be more efficient and delivery will be cheaper in the long run,” said Rabbitte.

The minister said he could not discuss details of the government’s intentions for post codes because of the ongoing tender process. Hopes are that the new post code system could be operational within 18 months of September’s announcement.

Irish post codes

The Republic of Ireland remains the only country within the European Union without its own post code system, other than for a few districts within Dublin.

Irish ministers declared in 2005 that a national post code system would be introduced by the start of 2008, dividing the country into 200 post towns, with groups of 40 to 50 properties then given a six-digit alphanumeric code. However, it was then decided to hold hold additional consultation on the proposals.

After various delays, the project was renewed in 2009 and a tender went out in January 2010 for a consultancy to assist the government in the project, preparing another tender with the aim of assigning post codes in 2011. That tender process was hit by technical problems, delaying the project until May 2010, before eventually PA Consulting Services Ltd was appointed in September 2010.

John Tuohy, Nightline chief executive, is hopeful that Ireland will get a post code system in the next two years – but he’s not holding his breath, after a history of delays and false dawns

The government issued a Pre-Qualification Questionnaire for a EUR 15m project in January 2011, aiming to award a contract in the summer of 2011 so that post codes could be introduced by 2012.

By September 2011, the government was suggesting its previously announced timetable had been merely “indicative”, and that the procurement process was still “ongoing”.

“Closer than before”

Following this month’s government assurances, John Tuohy, chief executive of the Irish parcel carrier Nightline, issued a note of caution in jumping to the conclusion that Ireland will definitely get its post code system this time, after a decade of proposals.

“Certainly, this time around we have already got closer than before. Cabinet could have deferred the process again but we will only really acknowledge that postcodes are upon us when the parliamentary decision is made in September,” he said.

Tuohy, whose private sector company claims to deliver one in four Irish parcels, said the new post code system would have important implications for the delivery industry, offering quicker and more efficient deliveries, with drivers better able to find addresses – particularly in remote parts of the Emerald Isle.

He noted that delivery was probably not the biggest factor in Ireland choosing to implement a post code system now.

He explained: “There is a need to demonstrate that ours is a state whose recent financial maladies are in remission and that we are able to do things like collecting taxes. For instance, a new local property tax and water metering system both require postcodes to make them function as intended. That probably lies behind the urgency outlined by ministers.”

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