If you have a new account but are having problems posting or verifying your account, please email us on [email protected] for help. Thanks :)
Hello all! Please ensure that you are posting a new thread or question in the appropriate forum. The Feedback forum is overwhelmed with questions that are having to be moved elsewhere. If you need help to verify your account contact [email protected]

Is it true that An Post doesn't use Eircodes?

  • 15-02-2022 12:22pm
    Registered Users Posts: 5,301 ✭✭✭

    There was a letter in the Irish Times yesterday (Feb 14th 2022) that caused me to exhale the best part of an entire cup of coffee through my nose. It was from a frustrated citizen who had experienced difficulties taking receipt of expected parcels from Japan and his subsequent dealings with An Post. I quote an abridged version below. (Bold emphasis is mine)

    "Sir - We are facing further increases in postal costs. Do we get value for money?

    A friend recently posted four parcels to me from Tokyo. .....

    ... I went to my local sorting office to inquire .... When I questioned the failed delivery of the first item, and two others, I was told that as the house number was incorrect, all three items were en route back to Japan and could not be retrieved. I pointed out that the Eircode was correct and that my mobile number was printed on the front of the parcels. I was told that An Post doesn’t use Eircodes or mobile numbers. This was subsequently confirmed by An Post customer services department. I was given an email address to reclaim the VAT paid.

    The cost of developing Eircodes is estimated to be €38 million (News, April 17th, 2020). Most private courier companies use Eircodes and use mobile numbers if delivery is problematic. An Post’s customer charter aims “to provide all customers with quality services at all times”. This appears to exclude the use of Eircodes or mobile numbers. "

    I don't know whether to believe it or not because it sounds too fantastic. Our national monopoly supplier of postal services DOES NOT USE the postal code delivery system that was brought in (extremely belatedly compared to other advanced economies I might add) presumably to make delivery of mailed items easier, quicker and more reliable!!!!

    On consideration, I have some grounds for believing the story. Several members of my family, with the same surname, live in adjoining streets with similar road names and we frequently receive mail intended for each other, despite the fact that the Eircode is usually contained on the envelope as part of the address. I had thought that this was largely down to heedlessness on the part of the individual deliverer but if this letter is to be believed, they are not even required by their employer ie An Post to pay any attention to the eircode.

    What the actual f**k?



  • Registered Users Posts: 127 ✭✭connected1

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,301 ✭✭✭Snickers Man

    That story is five years old. Amazing that the situation has not changed in the interim. And it's not a question of expecting postmen (or women) to remember everybody's individual eircode. That would be absurd, especially given the obtuse numbering system chosen for eircode. I know that in the north, for example, the Post Code merely identifies one side of an individual street so that all houses on the same side of the street would have the same post code. Using Eircode, each code is unique and unintuitive.

    But in cases such as the letter writer's, when mail has clearly been undelivered because of a mistake in the address it should not be too difficult to examine the eircode (if it is given, which it was) using a suitable access device (eg a bog-standard smartphone or other terminal) to check the address before sending it all the way across the world to return to sender?? Think of the polar bears, people!!!

  • Registered Users Posts: 39,995 ✭✭✭✭ohnonotgmail

    The letter in the irish times doesn't make much sense to me. Even if the house number is incorrect the local postie should know where the post should go based on the street name and name.

  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 5,864 ✭✭✭DoctorEdgeWild

    Reads to me like the letter writer was looking for a way to critiscise the postal service. If the house number was wrong, it was wrong.

    The fact that Eircode chose a non-sequential model by design, despite the fantastic system across the water is ridiculous.

    People always want the courier/postie to ring them, or to know their hiding place etc., thinking 'Ah, it only takes a minute', but all those minutes add up over a round/day/week/year and lead to higher costs and longer delays. So they must go with a blanket rule, if the address is wrong, it goes back to the sender.

  • Registered Users Posts: 39,995 ✭✭✭✭ohnonotgmail

    Postcodes in the UK didn't start until 1959. nothing to do with WW1.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,505 ✭✭✭✭Mad_maxx

    It's amazing the number of people who don't even know their own Eircode

  • Advertisement
  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 90,344 Mod ✭✭✭✭Capt'n Midnight

    It's good that Eircodes are relatively non-geographic as it reduces the post-code lottery affect. But only until insurance companies cross reference the addresses and can map them to areas which they can do more efficiently now.

    It would have been cheaper and easier to only assign codes to the mostly rural addresses that don't already have a street name and number. In Italy they use road number and distance for rural addresses. Every Km there's a distance and every 100m there's a one - nine marker. Our roads are already numbered like L1011, it's not rocket science.

  • Registered Users Posts: 39,995 ✭✭✭✭ohnonotgmail

    In the UK, they have postcodes, which refer to a group of houses (up to about 80 houses),

    A UK postcode covers around 15 houses.

  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 90,344 Mod ✭✭✭✭Capt'n Midnight

  • Registered Users Posts: 757 ✭✭✭generic_throwaway

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,156 ✭✭✭Ubbquittious

    An post does use eircodes.

    I had a letter sent to a perfectly valid address but with an eircode for another place. Just as an experiment. It arrived at the place with the eircode, 150+km away.

    Also if you send anything abroad now that might go through customs they demand an eircode before you can send it

  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 90,344 Mod ✭✭✭✭Capt'n Midnight

    What will the Eircode look like? If you can imagine playing Scrabble and Sudoku with a bunch of epileptic dolphins – exactly like that. ... Since Eircode was aquired by Denis O’Brien last month, post codes can now be bought for €49.99 at any Topaz petrol station

    Looks like Capita were involved who are a spectacularly incompetent outsourcer.

    Here's a larger version of the map. Dublin and Cork postal districts were reused. Everything after that is a lottery.

    Compare the areas for V94 Limerick and F31 Ballinrobe (Mayo - pale yellow)

    Compare W91 (Kildare - light brown) with the areas to the west of it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,443 ✭✭✭PommieBast

    The eircodes were developed all arseways, the code is too random for a postman to become familiar with where each code refers to, There are 25 districts that form the first 3 characters eg, everywhere in Ennis gets an eircode with V95 as the sorting code, while every individual address gets a random 4 characters

    The version of the story I heard was it being made random to avoid complaints about the codes being based on English vs. Irish place names.

  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 90,344 Mod ✭✭✭✭Capt'n Midnight

    It's a progression codes for district - post code for a street in the district - Eircode for a premises on a street - non-geographic postcodes and post box postcodes are a thing abroad. ( Eircodes are not being allocated to PO Box numbers at this time. )

    There's also mission creep. Looks like postcode lottery will become prevalent as more data is harvested. "The Eircode Address Database (ECAD) now has a number of new data inputs such as NACE Codes, Holiday Home information, Created Date and further Spatial Accuracy. Please contact us for further information or refer to the updated ECAD Product Guide Edition 2, Version 13."

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,870 ✭✭✭Glaceon

    In the case of the routing keys yes, but also to reduce the risk of error. A Eircode with one incorrect character will go to a completely different area so it makes it obvious that there's an error somewhere.

  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 7,062 ✭✭✭plodder

    That's different then to what the letter writer experienced, which begs the question why. Is it based on which sorting office the post passes through, or do they do it one way on Mondays and Wednesdays and the other way the rest of the week .....?

    This is what's going to happen when you have an address structure with redundant and therefore possibly contradictory information in it. Which takes precedence? The eircode or the address? What happens when the address (or the eircode) doesn't exist, or what if there is a small error, but they are nearly consistent with each other?

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,301 ✭✭✭Snickers Man

    That's not true, in my experience. A street in which I used to live had about 50 houses on each side, each of which had the exact same postcode. So one side of the street (50 houses) had one code, the other side had another. So if you were a postman at one end of the street, you might have had two letters for houses about 20m apart (opposite sides) with different postcodes but a third letter, for a house at the other end of the street entirely, a good 200-300m away, would have had exactly the same post code as one of the first two letters.

    Still, at least there's a logic to it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,441 ✭✭✭saabsaab

    Not really. I don't and most people I know don't either. The system is hard to remember and appears random. Should have been more like a car reg.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,660 ✭✭✭Gregor Samsa

    The Loc8 guy seemingly spends his days trawling Twitter and other social media for mentions of Eircodes

    Not sure if it was him, but someone with Loc8 in their username and very clearly linked to the company used to be very prolific on Boards before, during and just after the Eircode tender process. Was incredibly bitter about the whole thing. I stumbled on that twitter account recently, and the bitterness seems to be ongoing. I actually only came into this tread to see if they'd be back, as they seemed to have a 6th sense for any reference to Eircodes.

    An Post's refusal to use them is its own failing. Other delivery companies are wiping the floor with An Post, and they're all using Eircodes. I appreciate that they have their own processes in place, but that doesn't mean they need to refuse to use Eircodes. In the example in the OP, a postman stood there with a package in his hands that had an Eircode on it, but he refused to take all of ten seconds to check the eircode out and deliver the parcel. Instead choosing to stick it back in his van and send it back to Japan. Think about the kind of jobsworth mindset a person needs to have to do something like that.

    I'm a bit bewildered that they're not using them too, but there is a licencing cost for commercial companies to use them. Plus, the Eircode site limits the number of lookups the general public can do per day (15, I think). Obviously, clearing cookies, switching browsers or Incognito mode can get around that, but a professional postman shouldn't really be expected to do so, and there could be legal implications for An Post if they did. That said, it is obviously very frustrating to customers that they're not using it when it would improve the service.

  • Moderators, Recreation & Hobbies Moderators, Science, Health & Environment Moderators, Technology & Internet Moderators Posts: 90,344 Mod ✭✭✭✭Capt'n Midnight

    Technically you could have got AnPost to send a letter with a unique code to every unique address on their system and then allow them to charge market rates for others to access the system. Job done.

    Like what3words LOC8 is taking free available data and obstructing it for profit.

    8 random alphanumerics are harder to remember than Ordinance Survey grid references. Or GPS co-ordinates. As both can be done for Ireland with a single letter and two 4 digit numbers. You could you could assign a letter to every degree square on the island. Or use county names as most counties aren't wider than a degree though you might have to say West Cork or Connemara.

    W8L-82-4YK vs W 7978 6098 vs 51.8011, -8.2939 (And you could replace the 51 and -8 with county name or grid letter)

    But the simplest scheme for unnumbered rural addresses is L2500 0.1 ie. 0.1 Km down the L-2500-0 Church Bay Road. You don't even need a computer to figure out your code once the road signs are in place.

    Or Eircode P43 C966

  • Registered Users Posts: 20,127 ✭✭✭✭dxhound2005

    It might amaze me if I knew what that number is.

  • Advertisement
  • Registered Users Posts: 6,206 ✭✭✭marklazarcovic

    wiping the floor ? an post knows more addresses and people living at them than anyone else,through geo directory,and tv license ,they dont need to use eircodes to get a correctly addressed item to its destination,the other couriers do,you will see couriers going up and down the same townland following eircodes,whilst the postie has a streamlined sequential delivery. as far as im aware,they offered to do the eircodes but the government decided to outsource. eircodes are great,the posties use them,or management will look up the codes for them when asked,but the time it takes to do this is not part of their working schedule,nor are they using devices which can search them online,the posties use their phones,if they so wish...they dont actually have too.

    by in large,its only if someone new is in a area with no house name or street number when its needed, but they really should be going into their local post office to tell them.."hi,we have moved into ..... ", ,,give names of new occupants so postie knows their there. just expecting the posties to know you have moved in is dumb.