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Postal codes in the Republic of Ireland

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Title: Postal codes in the Republic of Ireland  
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Postal codes in the Republic of Ireland

The introduction of postal codes in Ireland is planned to take place by Spring 2015.[1][2] The system will incorporate the existing numbered Dublin postal districts as part of the new code.[1][2] Prior to their introduction Ireland remains the only country in the European Union or the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development without a postal code system,[3] but according to the government the new system will make Ireland the first country in the world with a unique code for each address.[4]


While the national postal service, An Post, has stated that the addressing system and sorting technologies make postcodes for mail delivery unnecessary, it has been suggested that other services (such as direct mail providers) would benefit from a national system.[5][6] After considerable delays, it was announced on 8 October 2013 that codes will be introduced by Spring 2015.[7]

Introduction of a national system

In 2005 it became the policy of the Government of Ireland to introduce a national scheme of postcodes. The process of developing post codes is underway.

In May 2005, Noel Dempsey, the Minister for Communications announced that postcodes would be introduced by 1 January 2008,[8] His successor as minister, Eamon Ryan, announced in August 2007 that he was delaying the project pending additional consultation and investigation into the need.[9] However, on 24 February 2008 The Sunday Times reported that Ryan was finalising the system and hoped to bring the plans to cabinet before the summer of 2008, for introduction in 2009.[10]

An Post was quoted as saying "it would be at the heart of the introduction"[10] and the report of PA Consultants indicated that An Post should be paid over €27 million for its involvement.[11]

Following further delays, in September 2009 the cabinet agreed to go ahead with the project. It was to be put out to tender with the end of 2011 given as the date by which postcodes should be assigned.[12] In January 2010 Minister Ryan stated in the Dáil that the exact nature of the code would not be decided until the implementation tender process had been completed but that a Location Code with GPS coordinates should be part of the system implemented.[13] On 29 January 2010, a tender to select consultants to assist the Minister for Communications in deciding on the way forward was issued.[14]

The project was again delayed, but in December 2010 the government agreed to seek tenders for procurement of national postcodes, with an estimated cost of €15 million, with the contract to be awarded in the summer of 2011 with the codes introduced by the end of that year.[15] According to the Pre-Qualification Questionnaire the contract was to have been awarded in August 2011, with work to begin on 1 September.[16] The Department published an update in September 2011, however, that the "procurement milestones given in the PQQ are indicative. The procurement process is still ongoing."[17]

On 29 June 2013 The Irish Times reported that the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte, was to bring details to the cabinet meeting of 2 July. According to the report, a postcode operator was to be appointed by September 2013 and every householder and business was to be issued a code by July 2014.[7] Following a cabinet meeting on 8 October 2013 Rabbitte announced that a unique seven-digit would be assigned to every post-box in the state. A consortium led by Capita Ireland had been awarded the tender to develop, implement and operate the system.[2] Householders are to be notified of their codes in early 2015.[1]


Each code is to consist of seven letters and/or digits, in the format A65 B2CD. The first three characters are to represent a geographical district. The existing Dublin postal districts are to form the first three characters in the new system.[1][2]


Legislation to "provide for the establishment, operation and maintenance of a system of postcodes" – the Communications Regulation (Postal Services) Bill 2010 – was introduced in November 2010.[18] The bill was enacted in August of the following year, with Part 3 of the act dealing with the establishment of a National Postcode System.[19] Postcodes are defined in the legislation 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". The Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources is empowered to award a contract for "the development, implementation and maintenance of a system... for the allocation, dissemination and management of postcodes for the purposes of, or relating to, the provision of postal services and the use of the national postcode system by other persons for such other purposes as the Minister considers appropriate".[20]


See also

  • Republic of Ireland postal addresses
  • Irish Geocodes

External links

  • DCENR Postcode information page
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