No Honour No Code

at

eircodegamma

Who really benefits from Eircode?

You? The postman/woman?

The country in general?

Answer: none of the above

Blogger ‘Be Your Own Reason’ [link below] asks:

Guess who was on The Postcode Working Group?

Guess?

John Tierney himself. Of Poolbeg and Irish Water  fame. He resigned his position upon starting at Irish Water.

The contract was tendered in breach of EU regulations on procurement, and was set up so that any company with a turnover below €40m wouldn’t be considered.

The contract was “awarded” to Capita Business Support Services Ireland, a UK consortium. It was famously nicknamed “Crapita” by Private Eye for its numerous “failures and setbacks in the Public sector”.

Why a national postcode system would be awarded to a foreign company is hard to comprehend to start with, and harder still given its track record.

But it might be easier to understand when you learn that Crapita was appointed as servicer to NAMA in 2013:

Under the contract, Capita will deliver primary servicing for NAMA loans with nominal balances of €41 billion. For €5.1 billion of this, Capita will also provide special servicing in the management of over 300 debtors under a framework from NAMA. The contract is worth approximately €80 million (around £69m) over 4 years and will commence on 12 August 2013. An additional 140 employees will be taken on by Capita as a result of the contract.”

The postcode consortium is headed by Capita but also includes: Bearing Point, Autoaddress, Tico Group and An Post. Some of them were on the working group set up by the Government, either directly or through proxy. This is more than a mere conflict of interest.

Mr Alex Pigot was seated on that postcode working group. His company, Tico Group, specialises in bulk mail and direct marketing. He is also a Board member of Federation of European Direct Marketing (FEDMA). Tico Group is now an Eircode consortium member.

An Post was represented on the working group by Diarmuid O’ Conghaile, Head of Regulatory Affairs, and Liam O’Sullivan, Director of Mails Processing. An Post is now an Eircode consortium member.

While not on the Working group, other members of the consortium have undisclosed interests.

Autoaddress directors, Feargal O’ Neill and Patrick Donnelly, are also directors of Gamma. Autoaddress and Gamma share the same address, 17, Inns Court, Winetavern St, Dublin (Eircode D08 XY00 )

While not being immediate members of the consortium, it is clear that Autoaddress directors have access to information that could increase business for their other company, Gamma. This might explain Gamma’s eagerness to get the codes accepted, as shown on their website (above)

As we have seen, they all have a vested interest in the types of business they are involved in (Direct marketing, geolocation, consultants etc ) either directly or indirectly, and some were sitting on the very board designed to set up Eircode by the government. Yet they are now directly involved as members of the consortium.

But what links Capita, Bearing Point, Autoaddress, Tico Group and An Post? It is stranger still.

Autoaddress/Gamma’s Feargal O’ Neill and Patrick Donnelly share yet another directorship: Bizmaps,  a newly launched online location finding company is currently finalising a £750,000 (€952,000) seed financing deal for the first phase of its development.

Bizmaps has developed software which provides businesses with online access to mapping, listings, routes and directions-on-demand services for the Irish market.

While searching for data on the company, I came across the published Purchase Orders for the Dept of Agriculture. Looking at the spreadsheets, I found these companies had all provided services to the department.

Between 2012 and 2015, BearingPoint pocketed €180,290 for “IT Support and HR Shared services”, Bizmaps €227,765 for “IT Services”, and Tico Group more than half a million Euro (€587,239 ) for “printing and postage”. An Post, naturally, is also a big supplier to the dept. It provided services amounting to more than €7.82m between 2012 and 2015.

But something else stood out in those Purchase Orders. A little outsourcing company in Clonakilty, Co Cork. A little outsourcing company with a bigger turnover from the dept than even An Post.

Southwestern had invoices totalling €18m for the period 2012–2015.

SouthWestern manages the animal passports process on behalf of the Department of Agriculture & Food. Its other clients include Bord Gáis, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Bord Bia, Eircom and Failte Ireland.

And guess who snapped UP Southwestern last year?

The head of the Eircode consortium, Capita.

Members of the consortium, put together, made €26m from the Dept of Agriculture alone.

In 2013, Southwestern was refinancing €11m of IBRC debt. Their owners, Ion Equity, were also fighting O’Brien on Topaz. Was Capita in a position to snap it, as a servicer to NAMA?

Were they provided insight into the value of business to Southwestern by The Dept Of Agriculture?

A Fine Gael government, giving a brand new consortium to a UK Company despite enormous conflicts of interest, appointing it as a NAMA servicer, and providing it with companies well serviced by Government Ministries……How many hornets in a hornet’s nest?

Good times.

More here: How greed, cronyism and vested interests are serving anyone but the Irish public (BeYourOwnReason)

51 thoughts on “No Honour No Code

  1. newsjustin

    I’m sorry, I don’t entirely get your point(s).

    On the Working Group – would you have preferred if people with zero knowledge or interest in postcodes, deliveries, letters, etc was on that group? What would, for example, a car mechanic or a teacher of French have added to that working group?

    I’m not clear at all on your second point (?) Some company is working for the Dept of Agriculture. Scandal.

    1. ollie

      newsjustin, let me break this doen for you:
      a company who arranges leaflet drops is an expert on postcodes?
      The contract was tendered in breach of EU regulations on procurement
      €40 million turnover limit on a €27 million contract
      Several direct marketing companies involved in the eircode design, would this lead to a product more suited to their business than others?
      By the way, eircode is in business for the last 28 days and it is fully owned by Capita yet the registered address is a private house in clonsilla.
      So, the state paid to set the company up and develop the product but the revenue will go to eircode.
      Nice!

      1. newsjustin

        Thank you Ollie.

        Companies that have a need for postcodes certainly know what they want from a postcode system, yes. So it’s entirely a good idea to have them in the tent when trying to come up with the solution.

        I don’t know about the breach of EU regulations. Others on hear say it isn’t a breach.

        The privatisation of postcodes is something worth discussing alright though. However, one has to look at what the least cost solution is/was. Would it be better to establish “An Bord Postcode” and staff it with civil servants (who must also be paid) or allow the private sector to fill the gap? A bit like toll-roads.

        1. Gary Delaney

          Minister White called the “breach” a “language issue” but maybe he’s getting it confused with his excuses to Conradh Na Gaielge for missing Irish addresses. The EC called it an error, a barrister called it “illegal selection criteria” and the end result was that the Department of Communications were told to take relevant action and report back to the EC. One year later they reported back in Oct 2014 and were then told that their efforts were unsatisfactory. It took another 8 months for them to try again in June 15 and that is still under consideration by EC. Ministers Rabbitte & White denied any consequences at all on the record of the Dail and the Ceann Comhairle reported that he could not make Min White tell the truth.
          No need for the “grapevine”, the full EC response & explanations here: http://www.loc8.ie/news

        2. ollie

          no problem with the private sector, but to pay them and then alow them to keep all the revenue? (if that’s what happened, it sure looks that way)

  2. Clampers Outside!

    I’m struggling to see the conpiracy here…. I mean the Topaz bit thrown in at the end… eh…

    Can someone re-write that clearly, or maybe I’m a bit slower than usual for a Monday morning….

    1. newsjustin

      All you need to know is that Irish Water’s name is mentioned in the first line. You must automatically assume the worst now. That’s what the blogger dude seems to be banking on anyway.

      1. 15 cents

        yea, that and that the eircode gig was given to a non-irish crowd with a history of effing up everything they touch. and chuck in that they got in companies who deal in direct marketing, so that they would then have the exact address of every house in the country.

        1. newsjustin

          What does the nationality (if there is such thing) of the company have to do with anything? As for the “companies who deal in direct marketing”, it would be a waste of everyone’s time if those who send out bulk mail refused to use the new system. And as for them having the exact address of everyone, that’s available to everyone now via the new system – on commercial terms presumably.

          I once stood in a Dept of Agriculture building AND I have an aunt who delivers sandwiches to SouthWestern. Am I part of this grand conspiracy too??

          1. ivan

            “it would be a waste of everyone’s time if those who send out bulk mail refused to use the new system”

            Would it? Why?

            We’d still have a system that enabled emergency services find properties quickly and efficiently. To tell you the god’s honest truth, I suspect i’m not the only person who gets enough crap in the post without making it even easier for bulk mailers…

          2. newsjustin

            Fair enough, I should have said it would be a partial waste of time.

            If companies/organisations sending (say) 40% of the post in Ireland refused to use the new postcode system, that would be a bit of a failure.

          3. ivan

            It might. I suppose the elephant in the room is that whilst we all hate junkmail, it’s what keeps the price of post (relatively) low…

            My beef with the eircode thing is that from their own website is that the benefits are listed as

            Allow delivery and service companies to accurately identify addresses so your deliveries get to the right location
            Make it quicker and easier for medical emergency services to locate addresses
            Make it quicker and easier to shop online
            Help to develop Irish businesses and
            Facilitate better planning and delivery of public services

            And really, if I’m honest, three of those could be wrapped under the one heading, (delivery and service companies, shop online, develop irish businesses)…

            I’m also not convinced that any better planning will come about thanks to the codes, but i’ll happily be proven wrong.

        2. Clampers Outside!

          “and chuck in that they got in companies who deal in direct marketing, so that they would then have the exact address of every house in the country.”

          The direct marketing company gets those addresses from….. their own database, a third party …or usually An Post, no?

          1. Medium Sized C

            I can assure you, because I checked, they used An Post’s database.

            I had some doubts the other day, but I have the capacity to check.
            The are using the Official postal addresses from An Post.

          2. Clampers Outside!

            So… he’s talking in circles about stuff he doesn’t understand or has not researched properly by the look of it…. urgh…. now where am I going to offload the outrage I’ve built up :)

    2. Medium Sized C

      It’s not really a conspiracy.
      More just cronyism.

      A lot of people in Ireland don’t realise what a small pond it is.
      And even the ones who do don’t realise how much of a closed shop it is.
      Load of people making hay while Fine Gael shines.

      1. Clampers Outside!

        I agree, but if there’s cronyism, could the writer not explain it properly… it’s a bloody mess, with emotional tantrums about IW, Topaz and Denis thrown in.

        Why the hell can’t people just write what they are trying to say without peppering it with unrelated / titbits barely related only by some assumed similarity… it makes for a muddled mess.

        I give the blogger an ‘F’

        1. Medium Sized C

          I agree with you.
          Its all over the shop.

          Which is not to say I didn’t laugh the resigned laugh of an Irish person who can’t be surprised by the blatant nepotism endemic to Irish Public affairs at the naming of JT.

          Or that some of this isn’t concerning.

          But I agree, there is too much innuendo and intimation.

  3. Andrew

    What EU procurement laws were broken out of curiosity? Restricting companies based on turnover is legal to the best of my knowledge.

    1. Mr. T.

      Of course I’m not suggesting this is case here but excluding companies based on turnover is often used as a dirty truck to narrow the field to so few companies that the intended party wins it.

      That can be challenged successfully and is challenged all the time. There is a provision for it under EU procurement rules.

      1. Andrew

        Or it can prevent time wasters or companies not up to the job from submitting tenders.

        The last thing you want is two lads in a small office winning the job and then not being able to to it, or they go bankrupt or something

        1. Mr. T.

          It’s up to the tenderer to filter out those not up to the task.

          Many small companies can deliver an excellent solution at lower cost.

          I know of a tender for vending machines which was deliberately written to favour a large drinks company. The turnover threshold was so high that only one company could have won it. It was challenged successfully.

  4. Isallimsaying

    This just can’t be true.

    I see no mention of Denis [redacted] anywhere.

    Are you seriously implying he missed out on this windfall? His invite musta got lost in the post…

  5. munkifisht

    What has me is why it’s costing any money at all. There’s already an opensource project called OpenPostcode that has mapped the country to an incredible level of accuracy of 1.25 m x 0.9 m and can be used at identify actual narrow structures such as utility poles.

  6. Mr. T.

    Loc8 are all over the internet banging on about this but their system is pox. It has no geographical reference and is too long to memorize. They’re just a private company pretending to be advocates.

    1. Gary Delaney

      funny that – Loc8 has been used successfully since 2010 including by the HSE, Local Authorities and Commercial organisations. It was even adopted by Garmin in 2009 and I note that Eircode has no such support!
      If you have been successfully providing a service very similar to what Eircode pretends to be for over 5 years, then it might suggest that you have some informed insights in to the matter to offer;- well most reasonable people would think so anyhow including the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport & Communications who heard this from Loc8 : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N1hjqw9vmmo and they also received the Eircode analysis document published here http://www.loc8.ie/news.

      1. Mr. T.

        There you are again, all over the internet pushing your own enterprise.

        I really don’t want a post code that reads something like WBX-63-HH7 or JK8-66-P6T and bears no hint as to the name of my locality. It’s no use as a public use post code.

        Get over it and move on.

        1. David Yip

          If you look at an actual Eircode, you’ll notice it bears no resemblance to the name of your locality either. 1 South Main Street, Bandon, Cork is P72 NP23 — this doesn’t make any sense to me.

  7. mico

    Wow. I think conspiracy theories have jumped the shark now!
    – Asking for a company to have at least a turnover of €40 million to tender for a €25 million contract. Wow. The cheek of them.
    – An Post involved in a consortium to roll our postcodes.
    – A company in Ireland has done business a Government Dept! Wow. That should rule them out forever for tendering for any other piece of work in any other dept.
    – A person who works in a sector gets to have input on a system that will have huge impact on the sector!! Ban them forever.
    – Another business from a foreign country daring to go for business here! Shock horror. Down with that sort of thing. Back to protectionism we go.

    Basically what this blogger wants is some random block in a cottage in the west of Ireland with an internets connection to be able to get the contract because he is the only possible “independent” bidder. I wonder if that might be the blogger…

    The level of stupid in this tinfoil hat conspiracy is stunning.

    1. Mr. T.

      You couldn’t resist all the ‘make them sound crazy’ cliches. You even got ‘tin foil hat’ in there. Well done. Maybe people will think this guy is totally bonkers now and the status quo can carry on unchallenged.

  8. JunkFace

    Another Irish-made mess. Can’t anything be done here without massive overly expensive budgets, cronyism and lack of research/planning? We’re a joke!

  9. TomRed

    Something, something, conspiracy, [redacted], conspiracy, cronyism, conspiracy something, something.

    Clearly EVERYTHING is now mired in a conspiracy of some sort – the chicken in my lunchtime sandwich, the milk in my cup of coffee, the paper I read, the bogroll i buy, the bag of chips I eat on a Friday night, the fuppin’ oil it’s cooked in Joe!!

    I swear, there’s an Irish version of The Stonecutters out there somewhere in Ireland-ville….deciding Dublin play all their matches at Croke Park, keeping Brendan O’Connor in a job….

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