Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Questions (754)

Fiona O'Loughlin


754. Deputy Fiona O'Loughlin asked the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment if he has completed a cost-benefit analysis and review of Eircode; the uptake of Eircode; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [23298/19]

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Written answers (Question to Communications)

My Department conducted a number of Cost Benefit analyses on the Eircode project in 2008, 2010 and 2015. These showed that, in addition to the project yielding a positive Net Present Value to both the State and Private Sector, that it would also bring about a wide range of other benefits including accurate location of all addresses in the State, including the 35% of addresses that are ‘non-unique’; make it easier for consumers to shop online and enabling emergency services to quickly locate addresses, particularly in rural areas.

Eircode use among the public and businesses continues to grow significantly and this, in part, can be seen by use of the free online Eircode Finder app which has had more than 41 million look-ups since its launch, a 53% increase in look-ups from 2017 to 2018 and an average monthly look-up of 1.48m in April 2019.

The National Ambulance Service (NAS) have integrated Eircodes into their dispatch system which means that the patient’s address and the position of the nearest available ambulance can be accurately pinpointed, using the Eircode, on a digital map, enabling an ambulance to be quickly and accurately routed to someone in need of medical help.

Eircodes are being used by public sector bodies including, CSO, OSi, National Transport Authority, Student Universal Support Ireland, Local Authorities, Revenue, Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection, Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine and the Health Service Executive. Other state bodies and agencies that interact with the public have incorporated Eircodes into their operational systems.

Google have integrated Eircodes into Google Maps and other leading satnav providers such as TomTom, Garmin, HERE and Microsoft have also integrated Eircodes into their satnav apps for use by consumers and businesses.

Eircode have informed my Department that to date there are over 1,100 business organisations who licence and use Eircodes within their business operations across a wide spectrum of sectors. A number of these organisations are both international and Irish SMEs that develop business solutions and apps utilising Eircodes for their customers. One such Irish SME developed a free Eircode mobile app based on Google Maps that is used extensively by courier/delivery drivers who deliver parcels every day with Eircodes. This app has over 16,000 active delivery users and was used 237,751 times for satnav directions in April 2019.