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FTA Ireland trying to make silk purse out of Eircode sow’s ear

FTA Ireland is looking to support SME’s in trying to make the imminent introduction of Eircode work in some way for them.

As the Department of Communications seems set to roll out Eircode next month – without taking industry views on board, FTA Ireland has called for support from the IT and Geo communities to help Irish businesses ‘decode Eircode’.

FTAI says that while many of its members have said they would not use the full seven-character Eircode for their business, they may, like An Post, make some use of the three-character Routing Key at the start of each Eircode. In the absence of anything else, this element of Eircode might prove to be of some use for grouping deliveries into areas smaller than the county boundaries, which many are currently forced to use.

FTA Ireland General Manager – Neil McDonnell said:
“The introduction of Eircode is imminent, and whilst members of FTA Ireland have said that they won’t be using the system as it stands, we are attempting to make part of it work for small businesses. You could say we are trying to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear – but we would like to see small business get something out of it, and are appealing to IT and Geo communities to help make sense of the system, and support SME’s in the process.”

FTA Ireland has emphasised that in order to conform with Eircode licensing agreements, no one who helps FTAI will be paid for this work, nor will FTA Ireland charge anyone for access to the resulting polygons, which it will provide free of charge on its website. This will be a pro-bono piece of work, carried out on behalf of, and available to, small businesses in Ireland.

Mr Mc Donnell continued:
“Many businesses either cannot afford to use Eircode, or would find it operationally or contractually impractical to do so (since every single postal address in the country will have a unique, randomly-allocated postcode). However, the first part of the proposed postcode, which is structured to reflect An Post’s operations, would increase the granularity of Ireland from 24 Dublin postcodes and 26 counties, up to 139 postal districts without operators needing to unnecessarily license the Eircode database.”

In order to carry out this work, FTA Ireland is seeking the assistance of a licensed user of the Eircode ECAD file to map the polygons associated with each of the 139 routing keys. (In the context of postcodes, polygons refer to the geographic boundaries of each routing key area).

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