County Council calls for Irish Communications Minister to reopen Eircode tendering process

County Council calls for Irish Communications Minister to reopen Eircode tendering process

Members of Meath County Council have passed a motion calling on Communications Minister Alex White to reopen the tendering process for the Republic of Ireland’s new postcode system. As previously reported, the Irish government has chosen to implement an Eircode system designed by UK-based Capita and a launch date is set be announced within weeks.

Not only did the Councillors call for the tendering to be reopened, but they urged that a number of small Irish businesses specialising in location technology should be invited to participate. These small local players had been excluded from bidding for the Eircode contract because their turnover was beneath the required threshold. One of these “small Irish businesses” could include Loc8, whose location services are currently used by the Meath County Council.

The motion, which was passed unanimously, was tabled by Fine Gael’s Alan Tobin, who owns a driver training firm. Tobin said that his contacts among transport and logistics companies were not pleased with the proposed Eircode.

“It just doesn’t suit the purpose. It’s literally for postage and packaging. And, even at that, it won’t do a complete job,” Tobin told the Irish Examiner. “For example, if there is a delivery to an agricultural yard, an agricultural yard is not a postal address and Eircode won’t have the flexibility to take that into account.”

As previously reported, FTA Ireland (FTAI) has been highly critical of the planned Eircode system and the association was quick to welcome the Meath motion this week.

FTAI General Manager Neil McDonnell  commented: “The introduction of the National Postcode – Eircode – is of course a matter for Minister Alex White and the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. However, the Meath County Councillors are clearly voicing the frustrations which have previously been reported to FTAI by our members.”

McDonnell added: “While Eircode will facilitate Government agencies and utilities in sending bills to consumers and businesses, it will provide no tangible benefits or cost reductions in return. We echo the call from Meath County Council to Minister Whyte to reconsider Eircode, and say to him that it’s never too late to do the right thing.”

However, Eircode also has its staunch supporters. Nightline Group CEO John Tuohy contacted Post&Parcel today (14 May) to explain why he believed Eircode should not be derailed.

“Everyone – householders and businesses alike – accepts that there is a need for a postcode,” said Tuohy. “There has already been a decade of deliberation and investigation about how best to proceed.

“We have not changed our position; namely, that Eircode is an entirely workable system which will deliver benefits not just for our industry but for others too.

“Let’s not forget that, earlier this year, a parliamentary committee examined these same complaints about the code chosen by ministers and dismissed them following lengthy consideration.

“Eircode might not suit everyone’s interests but it addresses what most people want and need.

“In addition, it is structured so that any tweaks which are required can be made over time.

“A lot of time and money has been invested in advancing the project to date and we would be very disappointed if it was stalled or even scrapped so close to the date when it’s due to be introduced.”

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