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File photo. Eamon Farrell/Photocall Ireland

Government makes no comment on postcode costs amid Dáil claims of €30m

Minister Rabbitte told the Dáil that his department was assisted in the tender process by a consulting firm.

THE GOVERNMENT HAS refused to comment on the cost of the contract to run Ireland’s new postcode system amid claims in the Dáil that it will cost €30 million over 10 years.

The contract to develop the new system, which is to be rolled out across Ireland next year, was won by a consortium headed by Capita Ireland following a tender process under the Department for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources.

The process began in 2011 and invited interested parties to compete for the postcode management licence for a period of ten years.

Sinn Féin TD Micheal Colreavy asked the minister about the process last week, saying that one aspect of the deal was “extraordinary”:

A postcode system entails converting map coordinates into machine-readable format and it is not a complicated process. Yet, it is reported that this cost €25.6 million for a contract over ten years and in addition there will be a tender for a contract for technical advice and support. This is extraordinary because I would have thought this cost would have been included in €25.6 million.

Minister Pat Rabbitte responded by telling Colreavy that the process was “a great deal more complex than he has presented” but did not go into the specific cost of the the process.

He did, however, tell the Dáil that the department was assisted in the process by a consulting firm:

Given the technical complexity of the project, the department ran the procurement following a competitive dialogue procedure provided for in the public supply and works directive. The procurement was managed by my department assisted by its advisors, PA Consulting.

Colreavy also claimed that the tendering process required applicant companies to have a turnover threshold of €40 million, something he said “excluded most Irish IT companies from the competition”.

The minister said he did not know there was a turnover threshold in place and was “sceptical as to whether that was, in fact, the case”.

Read: Confirmed: New national postcode system to be rolled out by Spring 2015 >

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

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