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!