Postcodes are finally coming to the Republic of Ireland. On arrival it should be a major turning point for data generation and data availability in RoI and finally get past the issue of non-unique addresses. Within a couple of years we should see all public sector databases with Eircodes embedded. This will hopefully mean the beginning of much more detailed administrative data being available for analysis and monitoring. Finally, we should be able to have timely and local level trends on unemployment, health, disibility etc and move us past a complete dependence on census information.

Some background details on the proposed Eircodes (extracted from eircode.ie)

Eircodes will help the public, businesses and public bodies to locate every individual address in the State. Eircodes will bring many benefits to the daily lives of people, householders and businesses.  Currently, around 35% of addresses - mainly in rural areas - do not have a unique name or number in their address.  With Eircodes, delivery of services and goods will be much easier and quicker to these addresses.

An Eircode will identify an individual address – rural or urban - and help show exactly where it is located, unlike other countries, where postcodes define clusters or groups of addresses.  It is much more than just a postcode.  It is a smart location code for all Irish addresses.

Eircodes will allow the quicker delivery of services to households and allow business to develop and improve their offerings to customers.

Eircodes will link easily with online maps, satnavs and smartphone maps.  When you enter an Eircode for an address into such systems, you will be able to find its location and the route to get there. 

Each Eircode has seven-characters that are unique to each mailing address.  The seven characters are divided into two parts – a Routing Key and a Unique Identifier:

a. Routing Key

Similar to postcodes in other countries, part of the Eircode design is to help the postal/logistics industry.  For this reason, the first three characters (“Routing Key”) will be used to help sort mail but it is not directly linked to counties, towns or other geographic features.  A Routing Key will be shared by many properties in an area, so will become familiar rather like the prefix on landline phone numbers.

b. Unique Identifier

The second part of the Eircode has four characters drawn from a carefully selected set of letters and numbers that identify each address.

The Eircode design has a flexible structure with plenty of spare capacity. That means that it is future-proofed to allow for changes to buildings and new developments.

Who is Eircode?

Eircode is also the name of the business that will issue and maintain Eircodes.  In late 2013, the Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources awarded the “Postcode Management Licence Holder” (PMLH) contract to Capita Business Support Services Ireland (supported by BearingPoint and Autoaddress).  The PMLH contract will be fulfilled by the Capita-owned business, Eircode.

Eircode will:

  • Design the Eircode System
  • Ensure that every address is allocated an Eircode and is notified of it
  • Promote the use of Eircodes to business and general public
  • Inform the public of their Eircode, maintain the system, and provide new Eircodes as appropriate.

The company will be based in Maynooth, Co. Kildare with some of the initial start-up work being based in Dublin city centre. 

In this start-up phase, Eircode are creating the new Eircodes, the address database and helping to encode some of the States’ largest databases so that Eircodes will be used by these public bodies from the Eircode Launch Date in Spring 2015. 



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