Hi-tech postcode system considered

MODERN technology such as internet mapping, Google maps and iPhones should be part and parcel of the proposed postcode system, an Oireachtas Committee believes.

Ireland is the only country in the EU that does not have postcodes, but if it is done correctly our system could be streets ahead of any other, Deputy Liz McManus, the report’s author, said.

“In our view, as Ireland is the last country in the EU to adopt postcodes we should aim to be the best in terms of delivery,” she said.

The committee has recommended “a unique identifier system” for individual properties incorporating technologies such as internet mapping and iPhones.

The roll-out of the new system can only happen if certain obstacles are overcome, the committee’s report warned yesterday.

In its second report, the Joint Committee on Communications, Energy and Natural Resources said rigorous cost analysis and a “roadmap” for implementation were urgently needed to ensure the new system would succeed. Last September the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Eamon Ryan announced that a national postcode system would be introduced by early 2011. An invitation for tenders is likely to be made within months.

The report, published yesterday following submissions from various groups to the joint committee, stressed that the changing economic circumstances in Ireland meant the postcodes project needed to offer measurable benefits and be delivered at a reasonable cost.

Among the recommendations, the report states that the system of postcodes must be made appropriate to meet the current and future needs of the smart economy, and that a roadmap of implementation should be published by September 2010 and a facility for consultation provided to take into account concerns as they arise.

There should be the drawing up of an incentive scheme targeting groups and individuals who can be encouraged to use postcodes by way of reward. “For example, free postage for a month for householders who use postcodes would provide dual benefits of using postcodes and boosting postal services at a time when they are under pressure,” Ms McManus said.

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