State-owned provider of universal postal service and related services in Ireland
An Post (Irish pronunciation: [ənˠ ˈpˠɔsˠt̪ˠ]; literally ‘The Post’) is the state-owned provider of postal services in the Republic of Ireland. An Post provides a “universal postal service” to all parts of the country as a member of the Universal Postal Union. Services provided include letter post, parcel service, deposit accounts, Express Post (an all-Ireland next-day delivery service), and EMS (international express-mail service).
An Post, the Irish postal administration, came into being in 1984 when, under the terms of the Postal & Telecommunications Services Act of 1983, the Post Office services of the Department of Posts and Telegraphs (P&T) were divided between An Post and Telecom Éireann, the telecommunications operator now called Eir. At its inception, during the early years of the Irish Free State, the Department of Posts and Telegraphs was the country’s largest department of state, and its employees (most of them postmen) constituted the largest sector of the civil service.
Prior to this, the Post Office in Ireland had been under the control of various Postmasters General, Irish and British, with the appointment of Evan Vaughan as postmaster in Dublin in 1638, generally accepted as the date for the establishment of a semi-formal postal system in Ireland. Oliver Cromwell’s Postal Act of 1657 created a combined General Post Office for the three kingdoms of Ireland, Scotland, and England; the position was affirmed by Charles II and his parliament by the Post Office Act of 1660.
As of 2020, An Post remains one of Ireland’s largest employers but it has undergone considerable downsizing. In 2020, Munster’s only sorting centre in Little Island, Cork closed. The closure of individual branches in rural areas has become a significant political issue. In 2014, all parts of An Post made a profit for the first time in eight years. As of 2018 there were approximately 1,100 An Post offices and over 100 postal agents across the Republic of Ireland.
The Irish government announced the introduction of a postcode system, Eircode, in Ireland from 2008 though An Post was against the system at the time, saying it was unnecessary. The introduction of the postcode system took place on 13 July 2015, after almost a decade of delays.
All parcel post arriving in Ireland passes through An Post’s mail centre in Portlaoise, where customs officials are on duty to inspect it.
An Post adopted its current logo on 14 December 2018; it did not make its first appearance until 13 March 2019. On branded signage, individual post offices are labelled Oifig an Phoist or (in English) ‘Post Office’.[a]
Subsidiaries and joint ventures
An Post is involved in a number of joint venture operations and also has several subsidiaries. It has complete ownership of some of these, while it is part-owner of others, such as the An Post National Lottery Company and the Prize Bond Company Limited.
An Post National Lottery Company
An Post held the licence granted by the Minister for Finance to run the National Lottery through its subsidiary, An Post National Lottery Company until February 2014. All employees of An Post National Lottery Company were seconded from An Post, and as such were employed and paid by An Post rather than by the subsidiary. Since 2014, the National Lottery has been operated by Premier Lotteries Ireland, in which An Post is a stakeholder.
An Post Transaction Services
In 2003, An Post set up a new division to run its post office and transaction services business, entitled An Post Transaction Services or PostTS. It rebranded its post offices network as “Post Office” or “Oifig an Phoist” with a new, white-and-red logo, and introduced banking services in conjunction with Allied Irish Banks. This followed the introduction of a service whereby newsagents could provide some Post Office services. This service, entitled PostPoint and operated as subsidiary of An Post, was originally formed in 2000 to sell mobile phone top-ups over-the-counter to Eircell subscribers.
In 2005 PostTS sold its foreign operations, and the rebranding effort largely reversed, with the traditional An Post logo restored to Post Offices. Between 2005 and 2006, An Post sold its interest in the Post TS UK and An Post Transaction Services businesses to Alphyra, for a reported €59.3m.
Jointly established by An Post and Ordnance Survey Ireland, Geodirectory is a service that provides a database of buildings and addresses in the Republic of Ireland, as well as their geolocation details. It holds records for 2.2 million properties that receive post. GeoDirectory assigns each property its own individual “fingerprint” – a unique, verified address in a standardised format, together with a geocode which identifies every property in the country. Geodirectory also operates a mobile app called GeoFindIT.
On 5 October 2006 An Post signed an agreement for the creation of a joint venture with Fortis to provide financial services through the Post Office network. This joint venture with BNP Paribas was created to offer financial products and services to the Irish market, including daily banking, savings products, insurance, mortgages, and credit cards. PostPoint and the company’s insurance business, One Direct, was to become part of the new company, with access to the Post Office network. In April 2007 a press launch was held for the new bank, which is to be known as Postbank (legally Postbank Ireland Limited, to distinguish from other similarly named operations such as Deutsche Postbank). By February 2010, the closure of the Postbank unit had been announced, and the operation was wound down by the end of December 2010.
Some counter business for AIB, Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank can also be conducted at post offices.
Between 1982 and 2004 the company operated a postbus route linking Ennis with parts of County Clare.
Television licensing is administered by An Post. It is responsible for the collection of revenue, inspection, and prosecution in cases of non-payment of the licence on behalf of the state.
An Post Mobile
An Post runs a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) using Vodafone’s Irish network.
In 2009, An Post sponsored a postcard project, called “C Both Sides”, which ran for a year, with the public being invited to create postcards on different themes.
In February 2012, the Commission for Communications Regulation (ComReg) launched legal proceedings against An Post over the quality of its service. An Post said it was “puzzled” by the decision.
In August 2018, it was announced that all post offices serving communities of fewer than 500 people (excluding offshore islands) were to be closed. However, three of these 159 branches were “spared” closure following local campaigns at Ballinskelligs (Kerry), Cliffoney (Sligo), and Ballycroy (Mayo).
- In recent signage, “An Post” has been stylized in all-lowercase as “an post”; the 1984–2018 logo simply read “post”, with a wavy cancellation-mark icon to its left. “Oifig an Phoist” and “Post Office” have logos with the words run together but parts of them boldfaced, as “OifiganPhoist” and “PostOffice”, respectively. “An Post” becomes “an Phoist” in the combined form due to lenition in the Irish language. While “An Post” literally translates to ‘The Post’, and “Oifig an Phoist” to ‘Office of the Post’, those translations are not official names used by the organisation; “Post Office”, however, is one. The longer names primarily refer to any of An Post’s storefront locations, rather than to the legal entity, similar to American use of “U.S. Post Office” or simply “Post Office” for locations but “U. S. Postal Service” or “USPS” for the organisation.
- “An Post Annual Report 2019” (PDF). An Post. Retrieved 17 April 2020.
- Ferguson, Stephen (2016). The Post Office in Ireland: An Illustrated History. Newbridge, County Kildare: Irish Academic Press. pp. 43, 45. ISBN 978-1-911024-32-3.
- “Careers”. An Post. Archived from the original on 24 November 2009. Retrieved 23 November 2009.
- “About An Post – Fast Facts”. Anpost.ie. Archived from the original on 25 October 2018.
- “Dempsey announces programme to introduce postcodes in Ireland by 1st January 2008 –”. Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. 23 May 2005. Archived from the original on 13 April 2009. Retrieved 6 May 2009.
- “An Post is against codes plan”. RTÉ. 23 May 2005. Retrieved 15 January 2007.
- “Postcodes”. Department of Communications, Energy and Natural Resources. 2012. Retrieved 7 June 2012.
- “Man held here in Silk Road ‘dark web’ probe”. Sunday Independent. 22 December 2013.
- “Premier Lotteries Ireland becomes the new operator of The National Lottery”. shelflife.ie. 9 December 2014. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
- O’Dea, Clare. “PostPoint service allows customers to pay bills as they shop”. The Irish Times. Retrieved 4 February 2020.
- “PostPoint History”. postpoint.ie. Retrieved 7 March 2020.
- “An Post gets the stamp of approval and delivers profit”. Independent News & Media. 24 January 2008. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
the overall profit figures were skewed in 2005 and 2006 by […] a further €59.3m gain from the company’s Post TS UK and An Post Transaction Services businesses, which were sold to Alphyra
- “GeoDirectory”. www.geodirectory.ie/Home.aspx. Archived from the original on 12 January 2018. Retrieved 11 January 2018.
- “Census Pilot Survey – Faqs – CSO – Central Statistics Office”. www.cso.ie. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
- “Maps”. www.geodirectory.ie/Maps.aspx. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
- “GeoFindIT”. www.geodirectory.ie/Home/Media/GeoFindIt.aspx. Archived from the original on 22 December 2016. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
- “Grow as you go saving account from Postbank”. RTÉ. 7 May 2008. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
- “Fortis and An Post sign final agreement on creation of financial services joint venture in Ireland”. An Post. Retrieved 24 February 2007.
- “BNP Paribas Fortis” (PDF). www.fortis.com. Retrieved 27 April 2018.
- “Postbank to ‘Wind Down’ by End of Year”. RTÉ News. 26 February 2010. Retrieved 8 May 2020.
- Deegan, Gordon (14 September 2004). “Last stop for post bus as bosses put brakes on service”. Irish News. Irish Independent. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
- “Consumer Affairs – Media – Television Licences”. citizensinformation.ie. Citizens Information Board.
The television licence fee is collected by An Post on behalf of the Minister for Department of Communication, Climate Action and the Environment, who has responsibility for broadcasting policy in Ireland
- “Fri, Mar 28, 2008 – Wishing they were here to stay”. The Irish Times. 3 March 2008. Retrieved 6 October 2010.
- “ComReg in legal action over An Post service”. RTÉ News. 9 February 2012. Retrieved 9 February 2012.
- “An Post publishes locations of 159 post offices set to close”. Irish Times.
- “Review saves three rural post offices”. The Times. 20 October 2018.
Three out of 159 post offices earmarked for closure have been spared