This week saw the introduction of Ireland’s first postcode system, Eircode, and while the obsessive online shoppers in the country will welcome the change and the ease with which we’ll now be able to fill in all the required address boxes to make our purchases, the execution of the system hasn’t exactly been flawless. (Why are we even surprised!)
Such is the inaccuracy in certain parts of the almost $30 million system, in fact, that one of Ireland’s three major airports has been transplanted into a completely different county overnight.
Yes, Shannon airport in the County Clare is listed in the Eircode system as being in County Limerick.
The Eircode website was launched by Minister for Communications Alex White on Monday morning, awarding every house in Ireland with a unique seven-digit identifying code.
Wondering about the number of people tweeting their #eircode or pictures of maps of where they live... Identity theft or actual theft much?— Rick O'Shea (@rickoshea) July 13, 2015
Each house is set to receive confirmation of their code within the next two weeks, but for the impatient few the site offers the public the ability to search up to 15 codes per day. The search has been limited to 15 as the website says it is not for commercial use and businesses that need to search for more than 15 will be charged. Minister White believes that the cost for businesses to make more searches in one day will be in the region of $66 to $200 a year, depending on the number of searches.
Following the launch, Minster White told RTÉ News that he believed Irish emergency services would greatly benefit from the new system and that businesses will buy into the database.
He also stressed that although the system is different to the sequential system used in the UK, this would not have been an appropriate system to use in Ireland and such as system can also lead to ghettoization.
I don't appear to exist in the #Eircode system. Presumably this means I'll get my property tax refunded.— Sinead Ryan (@sinead_ryan) July 13, 2015
On the first day 365k people looked up 1.3 million codes and registered a reasonable level of disgust as people discovered they had met with the same fate as Shannon Airport.
The airport wasn’t alone in its sudden relocation as others searching for their address found that they were also listed under a different county.
So, #eircode has decided we're no longer in Tipp, we're Limerick.Have they no idea how attached folk are to boundaries? I won't be using it.— emma burns (@betaburns) July 13, 2015
Just checked #Eircode - apparently I'm now a small but thriving Souvenir Shop in Montenegro.— Joe O'Shea (@josefoshea) July 13, 2015
On Monday, Eircode commercial manager Alan Dignam told RTÉ News that although there were certain problems that needed to be rectified, Eircode would eventually lead to a more efficient system using an exact latitude/longitude mapping system that will drive down costs.
Dignam believes that deliveries to rural Ireland will also be greatly improved. Until now 35% of addresses in Ireland were non-unique.
Checked my #eircode and apparently I'm either homeless, a figment of my own imagination or an incorporeal being in an alternate dimension.— Gav (@miracleofsound) July 13, 2015
Among the issues addressed by Dignam was the introduction of Eircode to satellite navigation systems. As of yet, sat-nav systems will not recognize an Eircode, although talks are underway to change this as soon as possible.
Neil McDonnell, the General Manager of the Freight Transport Association of Ireland, disagrees with Dignam, however. He believes that while revenue, social welfare and the health services would benefit from the new system, these benefits would not be extended to the Irish parcel and package industry.
The latitude/longitude mapping systems are something that has been available to the postal service for two decades, he stated, as well as commenting that Eircode could be a means for allowing real estates websites to price properties based on postcodes.
Further complaints about the system have come from Irish language organizations who claim that many Irish language place names, including those in the Irish speaking Gaeltacht areas where only the Irish language versions are officially recognized, are not available on the system.
Conradh na Gaeilge, an organization promoting the Irish language, held a protest on Monday stating that "up to 50,000 place names are inaccurate or completely missing from the database."
CnaG’s President Cóilín Ó Cearbhaill also stated that the Irish Department of Communications is "treating those of who wish to use Irish in our lives as second class citizens" because "the new postcode system won't acknowledge the Irish-speaking community."
Funny that #Eircode's a play on 'Éire', but it doesn't have the fada, so it's 'Eire', which means 'burden'. Apt, considering the complaints.— Scott De Buitléir (@scottdebuitleir) July 13, 2015
Never wanting to miss an opportunity to make a joke out of anything and everything, of course, some great photoshop attempts started doing the rounds since the start of the week.
"You have like such a D04 A9K8 accent" #eircode— Joe Carlyle (@JoeCarlyle) July 13, 2015
You can search for your Eircode at https://www.eircode.ie/