Those responsible for organisational health & safety, for safety infrastructure & those who provide emergency responce MUST take more care and be more "Where Aware" when it comes to Eircode ..... Where does it point to & Where does it lead to? Check both Location & Routing before having to rely on it especially in an emergency!
The Eircode shown both on the above Defib Cabinet and in the tweet is not at the Castleblayney Hurling Pitch. In fact, the Pitch has NO Eircode. We responded to the tweet raising concerns but without reply.
The image above encapsulates everything we have been warning about when it comes to Eircode:-
Yet, the Department of Communications, Capita, who run Eircode, and An Post, who support the whole thing by the provision of their addressing system GeoDirectory, for more than 7 years have collectively failed to warn of these known issues and encourage the Public to be more Eircode "Where Aware" by checking their codes. Our last article on this matter here refers to the answer to a Parliamentary Question by Minister Eamon Ryan, who is responsible for Eircode, on 11th July last where he admits issues with Eircode and, therefore, that it can cause misrouting. Yet, the Public and, in this case, Castleblayney Hurling Club and the owner of the property who's Eircode they are using, have not been made aware of these issues and encouraged to check things thoroughly before relying on an Eircode for any aspect of emergency response. It is equally worrying that response agencies involved in identifying the location of the Defib and undertaking related Community Response have themselves not yet taken time to understand the issues and warn the Public either.
Some of you might suggest that sure wont the Eircode shown get someone into the right area and the instructions in the tweet will make it clear that the Defib is in the Hurling Pitch. Unfortunately, this may be true for some very few but, as the marketing about Eircode has been that it is always unquestionably "precise", it has become the norm to communicate Eircodes without supporting address information or instructions. Eircode (Capita) encourage people to blindly put an Eircode into Google Maps or other and navigate to it. In this case, that would lead to the user ending up in the driveway of a private house;- maybe desperately searching around the building in the darkness of night for a Defib which would not only delay the use of the Defib to save someone's life but it could also also potentially cause an altercation between the property owner and the unwanted visitors.
Of course, Community First Responders or an ambulance intended for the property at the Eircode shown could also misrouted to the wrong property. When the impression has been promoted that Eircode is precise without question;- responders are not prepared to consider the other possibilities and this is likely to cause confusion and delays. The notion that the "nearest Eircode" will do, as is now being widely suggested by State Agencies involved with and using Eircode, undermines the notion of precision imagined for the national postcode and belies the claim that it is the panacea for emergency response.
To address you directly Minister Ryan (who under the terms of the Postal Act must control the "appropriate" non postal service use of the national postcode) it is clear from your PQ answers and other information, that you are very much aware of the issues with Eircode. Therefore, if you do not take urgent action to advise and guide the Public in order to avoid very predictable potential adverse outcomes associated with its use (misuse), it is inevitable that you and your Departmental Staff and their contractors will be held directly responsible.
As for the Castleblayney Hurling Club, none of this is their fault. They have been badly advised and are the unsuspecting victims of misinformation. They need to be more "Where Aware" and take another look at the solution for them. They can feel free to contact us at www.checkyourcode.ie for free and professional advice.
In answers to two Parliamentary Questions (PQ's) from Brendan Griffin TD on 11th July 2023, the Minister for Communications identifies An Post as the organisation to contact if there is a location or address issue with Eircode and states that Satnav systems can misroute even if the Eircode location from An Post is correct.
Effectively, even though the Department of Communications and Capita have been promoting Eircode for use when calling an ambulance since 2015, this is the first time that the potential for misrouting if an Eircode is used is publicly admitted. This is a Public Safety Issue. Neither Capita, who produced the Eircode ambulance advert, nor the Department, which approved that it could be broadcast by RTE as a Public Service Announcement (PSA) and paid for by TV license payers, have never previously publicly admitted that misrouting could occur if an Eircode is used.
This blog has previously explained how misrouting occurs in SatNav systems and we have provided multiple examples of how it has delayed ambulances getting to patients on numerous verifiable occasions. (as well as causing confusion and delays for deliveries of goods and services) We have also shown that this is an issue that was well known to navigation industry experts before Eircode was ever conceived and that the designers of Eircode could and should have taken it into account. Furthermore, we have also shown in our blog posts that in the vast majority of cases simply moving the location of an Eircode by a small amount can solve the problem. However, this is not acknowledged in the answer to the PQ's referenced above and when one of the PQ's identifies An Post as responsible for Eircode location issues, it also directs the blame to An Post as An Post's design rules for Eircode do not permit movement of the related location away (even by a small distance) from that which is recorded in An Post's Geodirectory. By simply removing this rule, many of the misrouting issues identified to date could be immediately resolved. It is because Loc8 Code allows flexibility as to where the destination location is marked, it can resolve Eircode misrouting issues instantly and that is why we recommend it as a solution in our Guide to checking and resolving Eircode misrouting here
It is notable that in his response to the PQ's that the Minister does not highlight that the Eircode Satnav routing issues which he refers to, could also misroute an ambulance and, as a result, there is a need for people to check their codes before relying on them in emergencies. This is in spite of the fact that his Department and Capita, under contract to the Department, with the support of An Post, promotes Eircode for emergency Navigation by the ambulance service through PSA's which have been repeated every year since 2015. Equally the Minister does not mention that even though both Capita and his Department have previously recommended that members of the Public contact Google Maps to ask them to solve the issue, there is never any mention that since the Ambulance Service does not use Google Maps (same for many others), resolving the issue with Google Maps may still leave the same misrouting issue for ambulances. We have also highlighted this in our related blog posts here
Misrouting relating to Eircode use on Satnavs has been known about by those involved with Eircode since at least 2016. (Autoaddress was a subcontractor to Capita for the roll-out of Eircode)
However, those directly responsible, especially Officials in the Department of Communications, have denied misrouting even when raised with them officially. Their denials have been accompanied by misinformation such as the idea that ambulances use Ordnance Survey of Ireland (OSI - now Tailte Éireann) mapping for Navigation (they use Trimble Maps in the Co-Pilot Navigation system)
It is good, therefore, to finally have the Minister representing the Department of Communications officially admitting that that Eircode related misrouting does actually occur when his Officials & Contractors have previously failed to do that. He should now, therefore, commence a National and highly visible campaign to warn the Public that this may happen when an Eircode is used in calls to the ambulance service and, if the Eircode ambulance advert is to be broadcast as a PSA again, then it should also include that warning. This is a Public Safety Issue so all such warnings should advise the Public to check their codes and we at checkyourcode.ie are more than willing to work with the Department, Capita and An Post to facilitate that checking and help with the quick solutions if an Eircode does suffer from misrouting.
Finally, when the Minister stated in his answer to the PQ that he has "no direct function" relating to the "accuracy of these directions" , this is NOT TRUE :-
The Minister's own Duty of Care to the Public he serves should dictate appropriate action once he has become aware of the related issues. The answer to this PQ confirms that he is now aware of Eircode related misrouting.
You would imagine also that RTE and its new DG, Kevin Bakhurst, would no longer allow a Public Service Announcement be broadcast on its platforms without inherent warnings to the Public, since it is now officially acknowledged that the Minister is aware of related issues?
Here we are at the end of 2022, almost 9 years since Eircode was launched, and another case of Eircode misrouting is identified. This time it is being identified by Councillor Ger Deere and Iarla Moran, Head of the Municipal District, in Castlebar, Co Mayo, without understanding the potential dangers of this if a resident of the named street has to call for an ambulance. Instead of an Eircode which "directs" to the wrong street being a "not serious" "inconvenience" as suggested by the Connaught Telegraph Article, it could actually result in an ambulance being delayed getting to a patient in a case where minutes or maybe just seconds are critical. This is a particularly worrying possibility in a scenario where total reliance on Eircode and belief in its infallibility may have been created.
It is just about 6 months since a similar article appeared in the Irish Examiner reporting confusion with street & estate names. In that article on the 24th of June last problems caused for Gardai were acknowledged.
What these articles are telling us is that Eircode has not fixed well known problems with property addressing in Ireland and , in fact, it seems to be associated with making matters worse as suggested in this article from 2017.
It also tells us those who run our cities, municipalities and rural areas have been convinced by Public Service Announcements, marketing and political statements that Eircode is flawlessly precise and a perfect destination identifier for Navigation, when this Newsblog makes it abundantly clear that it is not. Furthermore, we can also see that there is confusion as to who is responsible.
Because it was recognised before Eircode that we had significant issues with our property addressing system and because this appears to have deteriorated further in recent years, an over reliance on Eircode is being caused. Amongst the public in general and those who respond to emergencies, there is a bias that addresses cannot be relied upon at all so, they should be ignored in favour of total reliance on Eircode. In the professional discipline of Navigation, this is a recipe for disaster. Since it is well proven on this Newsblog that Eircode can & has misrouted, that disaster may well be related to the loss of life. I regret to say that, in the not too distant future, this subject may end up for consideration in a Coroner's Court where over reliance on Eircode, a failure to understand its limitations, the undermining of property addressing and all the people and factors that contributed to these, will be exposed in detail. Just like air or marine accident investigations, it will be found that contributing factors were obvious to those responsible for related oversight for some time but were consistently set-aside and/or ignored.
Iarla Moran suggests in the Connaught Telegraph article that Eircode and street addressing have nothing to do with the Council. When it comes to property addressing, that is not entirely true but this article makes it clear that property addressing is nothing to do with Eircode. Nor is it anything to do with Google Maps. In fact, it is useful to know that the Postal Addressing associated with Eircode is not actually passed to Google Maps when Eircodes are passed on. However, as has been discussed in this Newsblog many times, it may be possible to resolve misrouting on Google Maps by making contact with Google BUT this does not assure that the same problem is resolved on other mapping and navigation systems used by emergency services or logistics companies. As we have highlighted before, the National Ambulance Service does not navigate to an Eircode location using Google Maps. We have to be very clear here, whilst property addressing is mainly an issue for An Post (with input from Local Authorities), Eircode misrouting is the sole responsibility of Capita which manages Eircode for the State. The misrouting wrongly identified as an "inconvenience" in the article should be brought to the attention of Eircode immediately and they must ensure that whatever steps are necessary to resolve the issue in ALL mapping and navigation systems, especially those used by emergency responders, are undertaken as a matter of urgency;- with unambiguous confirmations when achieved.
As we reach the end of another year where evidence of the misrouting of ambulances has been prominent and the absence of warnings from those responsible has been conspicuous, we can only hope that 2023 will be better in the best interests of Public Safety for all residents in Ireland!