Freight body: Department made untrue Eircode claims

The Department of Communications has been accused of making “misleading and untrue” assertions in relation to Eircode by a body representing the freight industry.

Freight body: Department made untrue Eircode claims

The accusation comes as the European Commission issued a preliminary ruling in which it stated that it does not believe Eircode confers an unfair advantage to An Post, following a complaint by the Freight Transport Association of Ireland.

The FTAI claimed An Post was the only delivery operator consulted during Eircode’s design phase, and that as a result of Eircode being a ‘random’ postcode, competitors will not be able to generate efficient delivery routes. The FTAI is to appeal the preliminary finding.

“The design issues with Eircode are so serious, and so consistent, that we do not believe they can be accounted for by the accidental creation of a ‘bad’ code. The only beneficiary — commercial, financial, and operational — is An Post,” the FTAI appeal states.

At the end of September Patricia Cronin, a senior official at the Department of Communications, issued a 14-page letter to the commission, stating that “Irish authorities do not accept that the operation of Eircode will result in an indirect financial advantage to An Post over its competitors”.

The FTAI appeal claims the department’s officials “depart materially from the factual position” when defending Eircode. “With respect to the official who expressed this opinion, she has neither the technical competence, the commercial knowledge, nor the evidence to substantiate her opinion,” the FTAI writes.

The FTAI appeal also draws upon the recent finding of the Comptroller and Auditor General, who queried the assumptions made by the department when calculating Eircode’s benefits. “We have shown that [the department] is willing to make assertions which are misleading or untrue in support of Eircode. We ask you to consider the credibility and truthfulness of the parties before reaching a final determination,” it claims.

The Department of Communications declined to comment on the Commission’s preliminary finding.

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