What we have got is an very conspicuous Labour Party collaboration, apparently aimed at denying Ireland and its people access to a useful postcode in order to ensure the competitive benefit of An Post and the employment benefits of the CWU and its members.
Minister Pat Rabbitte agreed a major departure from the terms of a tender specification started 2 months before he came into office and ignored 8 years of Government appointed board and consultant reports and a cost benefit analysis for a radically different code. During his term, An Post, whilst tendering for the postcode, went to the High Court to ensure it could continue insisting on a postal address (not a postcode) and he publicly castigated COMREG for challenging this!
Minister Alex White facilitated the final conclusion of Pat Rabbitte’s deal, including agreement from An Post to allow a postcode proceed for reward provided use of the code was optional (so there would not be wide public use and therefore An Post would not have to invest in using it itself) and provided the design was of minimal benefit, if any, to An Post competitors in the parcel market. Alex White also repeatedly mislead the Dáil & Public on related matters including false statements in relation to who was ready and committed to using Eircode. He ensured that Fine Gael Cabinet members would look the other way on Eircode. This included the Chairman of the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications not probing conspicuous issues in relation to Eircode and passing the subject off as “too technical” to merit his and his Committee’s real attention. The result of this was to ensure that the significant flaws in Eircode raised by industry reps were dismissed and ignored. Furthermore, White used his office & Departmental officials to undermine the credibility of those who were raising such issues. One senior official who was heavily involved in Eircode left his post and the country suddenly without public explanation. In spite of the adverse findings of the C&AG investigation into Eircode, the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport & Communications has not called on Minister White to answer for the serious issues raised.
Minister Brendan Howlin, was required under the Postal Act to give very specific sanction for expenditure on Eircode. He confirmed on the public record that he did give such sanction but with very specific defined terms and conditions. When the C&AG report into Eircode made it clear that Howlin’s terms and conditions were not complied with by White, and he was made aware of this, Howlin chose to ignore Alex White’s contempt for the rules and took no action, not even asking White to give an explanation.
Minister Alan Kelly presided over personal data on the general public (names and addresses) in the hands of Local Authorities being passed to the contractors involved in delivering Eircode. This was required by the contractors as An Post could/would not use Eircode to deliver the Eircode notification letters and therefore needed occupants names on the letters to do the job (a contract which never went to tender, even though the postal market is liberalised since 2012, and for which An Post was paid handsomely) This is one reason why personal names appeared on the Eircode Finder web tool when it was launched; itself a data breach! Alan Kelly had no authority to allow the handing over of public personal data collected for one purpose to another organisation (private) for another purpose. It is not known if that data has since been deleted or if it is being made available by the private organisations who were given it as part of the databases that they offer under license.
Publicly, all aspects of Eircode, which were widely criticised, were justified on the basis that they were aimed at the requirements of An Post, the USP. Over the period from 2003 to 2011 all official considerations for a National Postcode were focused an An Post use. Yet today there is no credible evidence that An Post are using Eircode in any credible way.
All of the above, therefore, unavoidably suggests that Eircode is the most significant coordinated conspiracy undertaken by a political party in Government in recent history. The same party can be criticised for its management of many other issues, but none other was apparently conspicuously deliberate and premeditated for a very specific outcome like Eircode. That outcome has the result of denying the Irish public value for the substantial millions of taxpayers money invested in the National postcode and the many benefits that would accrue to them by having a widely accepted, supported and used postcode, something which Eircode very obviously is not.
Ensuring the key players in this conspiracy are not voted back into Government is important, but what is more important is that they are held to account for any illegal actions that they may have collaborated on, in a forum where their peers, the Irish Public, can make judgement over their apparent criminality!