Thursday, 17 December 2009
Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources
Question 327: To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the type of post code he will introduce; the proposed cost; the cost of each report looking into post codes commissioned by his Department; the estimated costs of post code introduction from each report; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48148/09]
Question 328: To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources the reason a global positioning system will not be used in his post code proposal; if An Post has asked him to introduce post codes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48149/09]
Question 329: To ask the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources his views on An Post's geodirectory; his further views on whether this system could be used as an alternative to introducing post codes; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [48150/09]
I propose to take Questions Nos. 327 to 329, inclusive, together.
The Government recently approved the implementation of a postcode as recommended by the National Postcode Project Board. This Board was established to recommend the most appropriate postcode system for Ireland and to look at the costs and benefits and implementation of postcodes. The model recommended, and approved by Government, is an alpha-numeric, publicly available and accessible postcode model. Each postcode would have a geo-coordinate at its centre and consequently would be compatible with global positioning or navigation systems. In arriving at this model, the technical and economic consultants who assisted the Board, engaged in a series of stakeholder consultations.
As regards costs, the National Postcodes Project Board's report in 2006 estimated up-front costs of establishing a postcode address database, implementing and promoting the postcode would be in the region of €15m. The Board was assisted in its work by technical and economic consultants, recruited and funded in 2005 by ComReg, at a cost of approximately €479,000. Following a Government decision in May 2007, consultants were asked to review and quantify the public sector benefits of introducing postcodes. This analysis incurred fees of €54,450 and in its assessment, incorporated similar costs for the postcodes project as the National Postcodes Project Board. The relevant reports are available on my Department's website at www.dcenr.ie.
The benefits that postcodes will reach much wider than the postal sector, and while An Post did not request the introduction of postcodes, it has said it will in principle fully co-operate with their implementation. I do not propose to comment specifically an An Post's geodirectory as a product per se, but in so far as the Deputy asks about it being an alternative to the introduction postcodes, it should be noted that the geodirectory is not a publicly available postcode system and is a commercial, proprietary, address database, thus failing one of the criteria for a public postcode.