In July of last year, every home in the country was given a seven-digit code that was supposed to make exact locations easier to find.
By the end of 2015, neither the gardaí, the National Ambulance Service, nor the country’s fire services were using the €38m navigation system. One senior fire officer described it as “worse than useless”. Many state agencies still don’t use it and many private delivery services use their own codes for street and area addresses.
Instead of refining the system or revising it altogether, Eircode launched a broadcast advertising campaign extolling its virtues and suggesting, in a chilling manner, that those in need of emergency assistance need to know their postcode when calling an ambulance.
That misleading campaign breached four elements of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland’s code of practice. But, as our report today reveals, there is nothing the BAI can do about it as public service broadcasts are exempt from it.
There is no reason why they should be exempt. In fact, public service broadcasts should be exemplary in terms of fairness and accuracy and set the standard for private advertisers. Otherwise, all public service broadcasts are suspect.