TENS of thousands of householders across Limerick will be given a postcode in the coming weeks as Ireland finally gets its own coding system.
But unlike in Britain and across Europe, these new ‘Eircodes’ will be specific to a house, and not a street.
Eircode, the new company set up to administer Ireland’s postcodes will be writing to people in the coming weeks informing them of their postcode.
It is not yet known what Limerick’s style will be, but people in the south-west of Ireland will be among the first to receive their postcodes.
Representatives of Eircode were in Limerick for a Chamber breakfast at the Clarion Hotel.
They answered questions from business people on the roll-out of the system, whether it will be usable on Google Maps and Sat-Nav car systems, and how it can help in situations where the emergency services are being called.
As well as this, the company has employed a ‘champion’ to engage with rural communities in Co Limerick, who are expected to benefit from Eircode the most.
It was pointed out that in parts of Limerick which are considered to be in the general area of a flood plain, but not actually at risk of flooding, the new codes may save some households from having to pay higher insurance premiums.
This is because the codes will identify which houses are more at risk of flooding in a general area.
Alan Dignam, commercial manager at Eircode, said the new system will benefit people in rural areas. “People who live in rural areas will know very well that it is difficult to get goods and services delivered to some locations. It is an area we need to rectify. We need to modernise it to allow businesses become more efficient, and as consumers we need to have a postcode to try and get better services, and less expensive rates,” he said.
Postcodes have long been on the cards for Ireland, which is the last country in Europe to introduce them. Mr Dignam said Eircode decided to give each house a code, rather than streets for logistical reasons. It is expected that even houses side-by-side will have significantly different codes.
He stressed that the onus is on companies to add the postcode to your address - which means unlike when you move, you will not have to notify them of a change of address.
Mr Dignam said: “The fact of Eircode not being mandatory is really important. As a consumer, we don’t like to be told what to do, certainly in Ireland. What we are saying to people is: here’s a new postcode. It is going to be of use to you going forward. But it is the responsibility of the companies you interact with to request the code from you. There won’t be people waiting on the phone for six hours!”
But the company is putting in place a call-centre with 45 staff waiting to assist people with problems.
As well as this, Eircode has teamed up with the Wheel, which supports community groups, and has employed a ‘county champion’ to help rural communities.
“We talk quite a lot about business and consumers, but we need to be aware there are areas within our citizens who might not fully understand or embrace the idea of what the Eircode is.
“We have employed a ‘county champion’ in each county go to community meetings, tea and coffee mornings to spread the word on Eircode,” he added.
The feedback, Mr Dignam added, has been “overwhelmingly positive”, and he feels there will be a quick uptake, unlike in Britain, where it was 30 years before they came into common use.
“We are being told that when people are ordering online, they are having to enter ‘0000’ to satisfy the postcode requirement. Now they will have their own postcode. We think this will drive the use of it,” he concluded.
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