Emergency services brand Eircode ‘worse than useless’

Some emergency services have dismissed the government-approved postcode system Eircode as “worse than useless”.

The €38m system is not being used by An Garda Síochána, the National Ambulance Service, and the country’s fire services. The navigation system for the emergency services does not support Eircode and is not likely to in the near future.

The Emergency Call Answering Service (ECAS) which handles emergency calls through the 999/112 numbers also does not support the new postcode system.

A spokeswoman for ECAS said: “We are in the process of adding support for Eircode to our platform.

“ECAS will continue with the current processes that have been designed to route calls as quickly and as efficiently as possible to the correct emergency service and no changes to these processes are planned.”

ECAS, however, says it does see a benefit of the Eircode system “particularly in rural locations with non-unique addresses. In such circumstances, the use of an Eircode can provide a highly accurate location which could be used by the emergency services.”

The Department of the Environment confirmed there is currently no system in place to allow fire service vehicles respond to emergencies using the new postcode system.

According to a spokesman: “The fire service has a number of computer-aided dispatch systems. The service will be upgrading these systems in the coming years. It is intended that as systems are replaced they may be capable of facilitating Eircodes.

“The fire service will use Eircode-enabled systems as the opportunities arise, prioritising those that give greatest operational advantage, and will use Eircode as appropriate to operational needs.

“The emergency services are currently in discussions with the Emergency Call Answering Service on how best to address this issue going forward,” the department has said.

“The fire service is considering the introduction or replacement of mobile data systems in appliances; the service will be upgrading these systems in the coming years. It is intended that as systems are replaced they may be capable of facilitating Eircodes.”

However, one senior fire officer said: “As it is, Eircode is worse than useless. We were expecting that the postcodes would be incorporated into satnav systems to make our jobs easier but it appears to be a right waste altogether.”

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