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Irish News

Every address to have postcode by 2015

D4 may become D04 under system which will use a seven-character ?unique identifier? for every address

The Republic is to have a new postcode which will identify every home or commercial unit in the State , is has been announced.

The ?world?s first? individual unit locator goes beyond the usual area codes in most developed countries, and will be a ?unique identifier? with benefits for the postal and ambulance services, the Government has said. Most countries in the developed world have had post codes since at least the 1990s. An award of a tender to a consortium headed by Capita Ireland was approved by the Government at a Cabinet meeting this morning.

The new postcode will comprise seven digits providing a unique identification for every letter box in the State. The ?unit specific? code will be in the format A65 B2CD with the first three digits relating to the postal district.

It will be made available to the makers of satellite navigation systems and other businesses such as online route planners and shopping services, with the potential to make postal services, journey planning and web-based supermarket shopping more efficient.

Confirming that Ireland will be the first State in the world ?to have a public database of unique identifiers? Minister for Communications Pat Rabbitte said the change would assist citizens, public bodies and businesses to locate every individual household in the State.

The department said the postcode will be a seven character code in the format A65 B2CD, with the first three characters relating to a general area or postal district in which the address is located. A spokesman said important knowledge of locations will be retained in the new addresses. For example Dublin 4, and other existing postal districts in the Capital, will still be identifiable in the first three digits of the new code.

Existing Dublin postal districts will appear as the first three characters of the new postcode. ?If you were D4, you might now be DO4 the spokesman explained in answer to a question from The Irish Times. While it is a world?s first in terms of uniquely identifying every letterbox, the new system will bring Ireland in line with other European countries where postcode systems have been in use for many decades, Mr Rabbitte said. It is scheduled to be operational in Spring 2015, Mr Rabbitte said there would be many benefits of the new system,? for example, given the prevalence of satellite navigation systems in cars, a driver will simply be able to insert a postcode into their device, rather than a lengthy address and will be provided with the accurate location?.

Householders will be informed of their postcode in early 2015 and will be able to use it from then on. Mr Rabbitte said ?in the meantime the groundwork designing the code and updating private and public sector databases to accommodate the new postcode system will be undertaken.

The Capita consortium is expected to operate the postcode under licence for an initial ten year period extendable at the discretion of the Minister for Communications by a further five years.

[source: www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news]