Pitney Bowes

PB Software UK

Eircodes – What’s the Craic?

by craigpinhorne | July 27, 2015 | No Comments

Fifteen years ago, not long after I joined a small Geographic Information System (GIS) Data team, talks had started around the proposed creation of a new postcode system in the Republic of Ireland.  Since then, the concept ebbed and flowed but in July 2015, there was a tangible result: the long-anticipated launch of the new Irish postal system. Eircodes have arrived.


Why have they been introduced?

The main reason behind their introduction is simple. Over 1/3 of properties in Ireland share their address with at least one other property. This duplication is also seen with the tradition of the same family names (first and surname) being handed down through generations.  From an address point of view this can get pretty confusing although An Post, the state-owned provider of postal services in Ireland, is well known for delivering items with just a whisper of an address.  The Eircode is a unique identifier which is assigned to each residential and business address similar to the UPRN (Unique Property Reference Number) in Great Britain.  The UPRN has been called a ‘golden thread’ which allows the easy linkage of multiple datasets using that common identifier, but it’s not seen as a postcode in its traditional sense.  The adoption of Eircodes has seen the multiple buildings identified within a postcode, recognised by citizens of many countries around the globe, leapfrogged with a single address per postcode being identified.


Why are they so important?

The Project has cost around 27 million Euros over an 8 year contract period*1, to serve a population of under 5 million. It provides a little over 2 million properties with an Eircode.  This is a considerable cost so, understandably, stakeholders are looking for the successful completion of the project and both the value and benefit it will realise.  Surprisingly, to some, postcodes can be both a passionate and valuable topic.  In Great Britain, postcode allocation can add or remove thousands of pounds from the price of a house as they allow easy access to a preferred school, affect health care provision, council tax rates and bin collection days. They are used for Insurance calculations, for online delivery and to route emergency services: in short, they’re used a lot.  Talk has already heated up around Eircodes and their appropriateness for similar applications.  Not all the talk has been positive and a number of publications have gone so far as to list adopters for key applications who are reassessing or refusing to implement them within their business systems*2.


What does my business need to do?

Businesses will need to carefully review the application of Eircodes considering cost/benefit implications.  Ultimately, a single precise and accurate delivery address will have benefits such as driving down costs generated by undeliverable or returned items.  This will go hand-in-glove with an improvement in delivering services with providers being able to locate addresses more confidently, again reducing costs. The address clarity will also enable more targeted and focussed sales and marketing activity again reducing resource outlay but also allowing more focussed material to reach the appropriate target audience.

But, of course, for this to happen, businesses need to ensure their customer data and mail processing systems are updated with Eircodes.


The future for Eircodes

The introduction of Eircodes is not just a postal addressing change. It is a catalyst that will change the way the Irish population can identify an address, receive goods and services and increasingly convert digital interaction to the physical medium that turns up at their door. Up until now the gate keeper to this world has often been the An Post delivery person who has a detailed knowledge of their postal routes and the people who live there.  What the Eircode promises is increased access to that world where no previous address knowledge is needed.  As mentioned earlier, Emergency Services, on-line delivery, routing and other organisations will benefit by having a pin-point address to find, but as with any new system there’s always a snag list.  This is a complicated large project which has been much anticipated.  Just how big that snag list is and will the implementation be successful is an almost impossible question to answer.  The next few months will begin to reveal how difficult that task really is as perhaps the hardest part of the project unfolds: the rate at which the public and businesses readily adopt and use Eircodes in their everyday lives.




Pitney Bowes in the Republic of Ireland

Pitney Bowes works with businesses and public sector organisations across the Republic of Ireland. With an office on Calmont Park in Dublin, Pitney Bowes provides on-the-ground support and strategic expertise, delivering innovations that help clients navigate the complex and evolving world of commerce.



*1 Figures from the Irish independent

*2 Irish Examiner 15th July 2015 and Irish Times 17th July 2015





Please observe our community guidelines when posting comments.

This blog is hosted by Pitney Bowes Inc. By using this blog you agree that you are solely responsible for any comment you post to the Blog and you agree to abide and be bound by the Pitney Bowes TERMS OF USE.

Please stay on topic. We may redirect certain submissions if they are better handled through another channel such as customer service. With regard to the content of any submissions you make through this Blog, you agree to remain solely responsible and agree to not submit materials that are unlawful, defamatory, abusive or obscene. You also agree that you will not submit anything to this Blog that violates any right of a third party, including copyright, trademark, privacy or other personal or proprietary rights.

Pitney Bowes reserves the right to terminate your ability to use and/or submit posts to this Blog. Pitney Bowes may not review all postings and is not responsible for comments posted on this Blog. Pitney Bowes nevertheless retains the right to not post, edit a posting or to remove any postings in its sole and absolute discretion.