County councillors have called on the Government to abandon plans for the Eircode postcode system and, instead, adopt a satellite service council staff are using to pinpoint locations.
The members of Meath County Council unanimously passed a motion urging Communications Minister Alex White to reopen the postcode tendering process. And, second time around, not to exclude from the process several small Irish businesses specialising in location technology.
They include the Loc8 service the council already uses to locate everything from buildings to individual street lamps. Loc8 and other operators could not tender for the Eircode contract because their turnover did not meet the required threshold.
The motion was tabled by Fine Gael’s Alan Tobin, who owns a driver training firm and said transport and logistic companies had little faith in 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,” he said.
“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.
“We could instead have a coding system that would be very, very versatile and would have a huge number of uses besides post.
“Within the council, we use Loc8 for the likes of illegal dumping and the location of a blocked drain. I was on the beach the other day and a lifebuoy was missing. I could pinpoint on Loc8 exactly where I was and get the council there with a replacement instead of sending someone looking for the spot.
“If I come across an icy stretch on the road, I can pinpoint it exactly or if I come across a road traffic accident, instead of trying to describe where I am to the ambulance service, I can pinpoint it once I have the app on my phone.”
Concerns have been expressed Eircode will not be any more helpful than traditional addresses in helping to find the scenes of accidents and incidents because each code will be randomly created.
Unless a caller knows the postcode of the location they are at, no nearby postcode will be of any use as it will not bear any relation to the one they are trying to direct emergency crews to.
Mr White is standing by the decision to go with Eircode as designed by British company, Capita, saying in recent days: “The Government is fully committed to introducing Eircode.”
The minister said: “The Eircode project is currently in the implementation phase and is on target to be launched this summer. Every Irish address, residential and business, will be sent a notification by post this summer with the Eircode enclosed.”
The launch date for Eircode will be announced within weeks.
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