Republic of Ireland postal addresses

Republic of Ireland postal addresses

Postal addresses in Ireland are similar to those in many other parts of the world. Currently there is no national post code system. However, Dublin is divided into postal districts, under a system which was similar to that used in cities elsewhere in Europe until the introduction of postcode systems in the 1960s and 70s.

At the time, Ireland did not follow suit, and An Post did not introduce automated sorting machines for mail until the 1990s. By then, the introduction of new technology, known as optical character recognition (OCR), meant that machines could “read” whole addresses, as opposed to just postcodes. Consequently, mail to addresses in the rest of the Republic does not require any digits after the address.

An Post has argued that a nationwide public postcode system is unnecessary, describing it as “a 1960s solution to a 21st century problem”. [" [ An Post View - Mr Derek Kickham] " ComReg Symposium on Postcodes November 24, 2003] that it would be expensive and that its existing system is superior." [ An Post is against codes plan] " from RTÉ Business, May 23, 2005] Concerns were also expressed by traditionalists that postcodes would undermine the use of historic townland names. (Royal Mail in the UK approached the problem of postcodes in rural Northern Ireland by naming previously unnamed roads after the townlands through which they passed, and assigning numbers to houses. The naming of roads was initially refused by Fermanagh District Council, resulting in a solution (unsatisfactory to some) of a postcode being assigned to each townland.) However, courier services and direct mail companies complained that the absence of such a system put Ireland at a disadvantage compared with other European countries.

Those advocating an Irish postcode system point out that many people living in rural (and even some urban) areas share the same postal address. This becomes particularly confusing when there are people of the same surname living at different addresses within the same rural townland. This also creates problems for delivery drivers, the emergency services and any visitors unfamiliar to an area trying to find an address (especially since in such areas it is rare for roads to be named or houses numbered, and limited signage indicating where townlands begin and end.)

In the light of the liberalisation of postal services, and the end of An Post's monopoly, ComReg, the Communications Regulator in Ireland, began considering the introduction of postcodes. A Postcode Working Group met in early 2005 and produced a report [ " [ An examination of the issues in relation to the introduction of a postcode in Ireland] " report of the Postcode Working Group (MS Word doc)] recommending the implementation of a postcode system.

On 23 May 2005, the Minister for Communications, Noel Dempsey, announced [ " [ Dempsey announces programme to introduce postcodes in Ireland by 1st January 2008] " Government press release] that postcodes would be introduced in Ireland by 1 January 2008. In November 2005, the National Statistics Board issued a report welcoming the decision [" [ Statistical and Policy Value of Postcodes] " (MS Word, 30 K) - paper from National Statistics Board] and making recommendations as to its implementation. It was later announced that the postcodes would include the one- or two-character county codes currently used in vehicle registration plates, making them alphanumeric, [" [ All addresses to be given postcodes ] " from The Irish Examiner, August 14, 2006] with the existing Dublin system retained. [" [,,2091-2350844,00.html Upmarket Dublin survives postcode shake-up] " by Colin Coyle in The Times, September 10, 2006] .

In June 2007 a brief [ [ Introductory Brief for Mr. Eamonn Ryan T.D.] (PDF, 3 MB) Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources 15 June 2007] to the new Minster for Communications, Eamon Ryan, stated that a memo was submitted by the Department of Communications to the Irish government in May 2007 seeking approval for the implementation of the postcode system. It also stated that the decision arising from this submission was that the Minister would revert to Government following further analysis to quantify the benefits, which would then be followed by a public consultation process. However, in August 2007, the Minister [ [ Minister to delay postcode system] ] reportedly postponed the implementation of the system "indefinitely", pending additional public consultation.

On 18 October 2007, Eamonn Ryan announced at ComReg's "Postal Services in the 21st Century" conference that "... [Post] codes should be introduced as a matter of priority". The introduction was stated to be subject to cabinet approval. [cite news |url= |title=Minister keen to introduce postcodes |author=Ciarán Hancock |work=The Irish Times |date=19 October 2007 |accessdate=2008-02-12] On 25 February 2008 the "Irish Independent" reported that the proposals were being presented to the Cabinet with a view to full national implementation before summer 2008. It stated that Eamon Ryan was finalising the proposals, which include a 6 character format postcode, giving a sample of "DO4 123" where "DO4" corresponds to the current Dublin 4 postal region and "123" is a specific building. [cite news
url =
title = An Post signals end of the road for exclusive 'D4'
first = Breda
last = Heffernan
work = The Irish Independent
publisher = Independent News & Media
date = 2008-02-25
accessdate = 2008-02-26


See also

* An Post
* Dublin postal districts
* List of Dublin postal districts
* Universal Postal Union

External links

* [ An Post - PrecisionAddress]
* [ ComReg - Commission for Communications Regulation]
** [ ComReg’s Symposium on Postcodes, Nov 2003]
** [ Consultation Paper: Follow up on ComReg Postcode Symposium, Nov 2003]
** [ ComReg Report on Postcodes, Jan 2005]
** [ ComReg Report shows broad support for the introduction of Postcodes in Ireland (Press Release), Jan 2005]
* [ Postal addressing system for Ireland]

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