Senator doubts post code’s value for money

The State’s new postcode will not deliver the value for money when it is launched next month, a senator and professor of economics at Trinity College has warned.

Senator doubts post code’s value for money

Senator Sean Barrett made the comments yesterday at an Oireachtas Committee on Communications hearing on Eircode, where he called for an independent cost benefit analysis to be carried out on the €27m postcode.

He was speaking following a presentation to the committee by GPS expert Gary Delaney, who claimed that Eircode’s design “will not address the needs of a modern economy.”

“My concerns about this project grow every time I hear more stuff here at the meetings,” said Mr Barrett.

“Would anybody who has come into us put €27m of their own money into this project, I don’t think that they would. What is it supposed to be doing?”

Mr Barrett further referred to previous submissions by An Post who said its current operation sees 98% of post delivered by the next day.

A number of delivery companies, including DHL, FedEx and UPS, have told the committee they will not use the code even if it came at no charge due to its design.

“If 98% of post is delivered the next day, even if this is perfect, all-singing and all- dancing, it is only going to give you a 2% improvement and no organisation operates at 100% anyway,” he said.

“What is it supposed to be doing and what are we supposed to get for the €27m? I can’t see that.

“The proponents have come in and made their case and I’m not convinced and I don’t think that the public is convinced.”

Mr Delaney is director of Loc8 Code, a digital address code used by Garmin satellite navigation systems.

He had previously filed a complaint to the European Commission and claimed that the State’s requirements in the tender for the postcode contract unfairly prevented him from bidding for the project.

He told the committee that he believes that Eircode’s design does not meet the description of a postcode as outlined in the Government’s own legislation and that the random code cannot be used without the use of technology.

“When you look at it you don’t get any information from it,” he said. “It’s of no use to anybody, including a postman.”

Mr Delaney argued that a report prepared by Capita, the company behind Eircode’s design, shows that what they have created does not qualify as a postcode as defined by the 2011 Communications Regulation (Postal Services) Act.

The wording of the act defines a postcode as “a code consisting of numbers or other characters or both numbers and other characters that identifies the locality of an address and, where appropriate, the geographic location of an address”.

Mr Delaney said that Eircode, as described in the Capita report, fails to meet this criteria.

“Throughout the document, much emphasis is placed on the fact that the Routing key will not identify any county, town or any form of defined area,” Mr Delaney said in his written submission to the committee.

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