The government through the regulatoris now seriously considering introducing postcodes in Ireland. Let me tell you the dirty little secret of why we don’t have postal codes in Ireland at the moment.
Basically, the national postal company, An Post doesn’t want them, because it would make it too easy for other postal firms to come into the marketplace and increase the standard of service while at the same time reducing the cost.
Think about it. At the moment, it would be very difficult indeed to introduce a new postal or courier service in Ireland. To operate efficiently, you need highly knowledgeable mail sorters and postmen to deliver the mail. They have to be familiar with every single streetname and house number in order to be able to sort the mail correctly first time and deliver it efficiently.
This is particularly the case in rural areas. Many rural homes have no house number, and so the delivery of the mail depends on the postman knowing exactly who is living in which house. This is all the more difficult in areas where many people share the same surname.
This difficulty plays to An Post’s strengths, however. It is the only body which has a national network of staff who know where every single house is. As a result, they have a monopoly that is impossible to break. The unions in An Post know that they are in a strong position too. An Post staff are paid far in excess of what other manual and delivery workers are paid in this country.
At the same time, service is abysmal, and the cost is enormous. Look at the US – a far larger country, with around 50 percent of its population in rural areas, where you can send a postcard for around 19 euro cent. In the UK, sending a postcard anywheree in the country would cost about 30 cent. Sending the same card within Ireland would cost you 48 cents. This is a very sad state of affairs for Ireland.
Introducing postal codes will be a great move forward. Introducing a postcode system will make postal services faster and more accurate and at the same time make them cheaper to run.
Be sure to send in your supporting comments about this to firstname.lastname@example.org before 6 January 2004.