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We'll know in three months if Ireland's getting a postcode system

Pat Rabbitte says he’s committed to postcodes and a final decision will be made “no later than the third quarter” of 2013.

Image: williammpark via Shutterstock

A FINAL DECISION on the details of a national postcode system is to be made within three months, the minister in charge of the project had insisted.

Pat Rabbitte conceded that the introduction of a new system “lost urgency” after the last government’s national consultation in 2010, but has insisted the plan remains in place.

The communications minister said his department had asked interested parties to submit proposals for a model of a new postcode system in January 2011, and “intensive work has taken place” since then on the topic.

Rabbitte said a final decision to proceed with an implementation plan would depend on technical and financial factors, but said it was his intention that ministers would make a final decision “no later than the third quarter of this year”.

Ireland is in the minority as a country without postcodes, and is the only country in the European Union which does not operate some sort of national postcode system – with only individual districts in Dublin being assigned numerical postcodes, such as Dublin 1 or Dublin 4.

Plans for a national postcode system have been in the works since 2005, when then-minister Noel Dempsey said postcodes would be introduced by January 2008.

In 2008 it was reported that the previous communications minister, Eamon Ryan, was planning a system where each address would have a six-character code with three letters and three digits – for example GAL 123 for an address in Galway.

However, those plans were criticised as being redundant – as the alphabetic part of the postcode merely repeated part of the written address, while the system only facilitated a maximum of 1,000 individual areas within each location.

Ukraine was the first country in the world to introduce a national system of postal codes, in 1932, though the plan was abandoned in 1939. Germany introduced its national system in 1941, and notwithstanding adjustments in 1962 and 1993, the system remains the world’s oldest postcode system.

Read: Emergency services call for postcodes to help them reach people in need

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Gavan Reilly

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