The Commission for Communications Regulation has confirmed that consultants hired to examine the possible introduction of postcodes have withdrawn from the project.
Hello to non-Irish readers. We don’t have postcodes. In the metropolis of Dublin, we do…well, we have Dublins 1 through 24. Outside the city, you can quite easily send mail to John Murphy, Main Street, Baltinglass, Co. Wicklow. (There are stories of ‘Mick’s cousin, second lane after the ditch, Ballygosomething, although I suspect most of them are apocryphal). So our regulatory body – ComReg, a new creature, although always seeming to be controversial – was studying (by Ministerial order) the possibility of introducing postcodes. Turns out that there was a potential conflict of interest – some of the consultants had been involved with an English
spam merchant private direct mail provider. That wouldn’t have necessarily been a problem, but it was undisclosed, and the union representing An Post workers, the CWU (who are apparently opposed to the postcode scheme) spotted it.
The work of the postcode working group goes on. I still have mixed feelings about it. On one hand, there are clear benefits of having a logical system, especially on the bizarre system that is Irish placenames and addresses. On the other hand, ComReg’s own report (January 2005) cited with delight the statistics from the Netherlands showing that 78% of mail posted is bulk mail from businesses, as opposed to the poor Irish system with only 45%. The signal to noise ratio in Irish postboxes isn’t actually that bad, and apart from any concerns of public and private interests (and ComReg’s role in dealing with both), introducing postcodes in order to increase the volume of nonsense doesn’t seem entirely compelling.
It’s being discussed at the moment that ComReg would take the power currently vested in the Minister of Communications, Marine and Whatever-You’re-Havin’ to regulate .ie. Let’s home that the spamhappy brigade don’t have as much sway if that ever happens!