Off the fence
You know the reaction you get when you give your home address to a person who is not Irish. They usually look at you with a ‘is that it?’ expression written all over their face, and ask, ‘are you sure that will reach you?’
You see we are unique in Ireland because we are the only country in the EU which doesn’t have postcode systems covering the whole country.
In the UK and elsewhere, they have a list of letters and numbers at the bottom of each address ensuring your post doesn’t go missing, like it can here in Ireland. Don’t you just hate it when your post ends up on the other side of the county or when you are shopping on-line you can go no further when you have to enter your postcode.
But the reality is that these circumstances don’t happen. Rarely if ever does post go missing because postmen and postwomen in Mayo usually have a bit of cop on and if the address is vaguely right it usually gets to its right destination, and when buying online simply typing ‘n/a’ usually does the trick to get your box set of The Wire delivered.
However, in his wisdom the Minister for Communications, Éamon Ryan has decided to take Ireland out of the dark ages and into the 21st century with his announcement that postcodes will be introduced throughout the state by the end of the year.
Don’t get me wrong I am not against the idea of postcodes. Progress is progress and they can be very handy especially when looking for a place on google maps.
The issue I have with their introduction is the estimated €15million price tag it will cost the taxpayer to carry out the work. How can putting a few letters and numbers at the end of your address cost €15 million? Maybe it is value for money, I don’t know, but it sounds like a lot of money to be spending, when the country is, to coin Joan Burton’s phrase, ‘banjaxed’.
At a time when half the country went without water because the lack of investment in our antiquated water system meant it couldn’t cope with the freezing temperatures, is it essential at this time to spend €15 million fixing something that is not broken?
Minister Ryan says their introduction will lead to significant savings and efficiencies for the State and will deliver more comprehensive statistical and geographical data, as well as open up new revenue streams, particularly for An Post.
I hope he is right but going on the track record, this Government does not have a great reputation for value for money. Remember the e-voting and PPARS fiascos which cost the taxpayer hundreds of millions before they were both scrapped?
For Minister Ryan’s sake let’s hope this is an investment which will be money well spent.