“An Post spent €2.4million preparing the way for it and the Department of Communication, Energy and Natural Resources tell me “An Post were actively involved in every stage of Eircode, from design through to dissemination.”
“So I asked An Post how many people were using Eircode as part of their addresses. Now they initially said to me, in their response that the usage was low.”
“And I suppose low could mean several hundred thousand pieces of mail, so I went back to clarify what we’re talking about in terms of low and they did say that ‘we’re talking about single digit usage in percentage terms’ so less than 10% are using it.”
“I asked An Post how does it work actually, in practice, because I was being told by a number of postal workers, off the record that they don’t have any way of interpreting the code... Postal workers were telling me, Seán, that sometimes they might use their own smartphone to check the codes from time to time.”
“But that really was about it. And I asked An Post how it worked out. For example, if you have an address that’s incomplete but if there is a postcode on the letter, how does it work? And they said that the Eircode on the address can be recognised by sorting equipment, so that’s centrally, and from then on the post person uses the postal address, not the Eircode, to complete the delivery.”
“And they say that it was never intended that the postal address, that postal staff would spend time checking every letter, or any of them, as part of the standard delivery work procedure…”
RTÉ One journalist Brian O’Connell during a report on the controversial Eircode system for the Today with Seán O’Rourke show
Following on from Mr O’Connell’s report, Minister for Communications Alex White was interviewed by Mr O’Rourke.
Seán O’Rourke: “This is something that you feel is worth the, well it now seems like a €50million investment?”
Alex White: “Well I don’t know where the €50million comes from but…”
O’Rourke: “Well €38m and the €12m between the…”
White: “Yeah…I don’t know about the…”
O’Rourke: “€38m from the Comptroller and Auditor General..”
White: “€27million was paid out and then, you know, the Comptroller and Auditor General pointed out that you have to add in the cost of external consultants, you have to add in, you have to put a price on the cost of my staff, the staff in my department, which wasn’t in factored in, and there’s VAT. So certainly there’s a cost here and I don’t doubt that there’s a cost but I think that it’s a very, very worthwhile investment for this country, a critical piece of public infrastructure…”
Readers may wish to note that Mr O’Rourke never asked Mr White about the particular concerns raised in the C&AG report in relation to non-competitive tendering during the hiring of consultants for the Eircode project.
Listen back to the report in full here