THE rollout of the new postcodes system was hit by a further delay yesterday when the bidding process for the project was cancelled.
A serious technical error in the tendering documents issued by the Department of Communications resulted in the competition for the contract being halted.
Several domestic and international consultancy firms had tendered for the contract.
The department will be starting the procedure again in the coming weeks and insisted the system was still going ahead.
But the mistake will result in a further delay of six to eight weeks in the rollout of the system -- pushing the implementation date further into next year.
"Obviously there is a delay in the awarding of the tender. The minister hopes this will not unduly delay the implementation of postcodes," a department spokesperson said.
The new postcode system will mean a combination of numbers or letters will be added to every address in the country.
The project, worth between €10m to €15m, is already more than two years past its initial planned timeframe. The project was first announced by then Communications Minister Noel Dempsey in mid-2005, who said it would be up and running by early 2008.
His successor, Eamon Ryan, put an introduction date of early 2011 on the rollout.
It is now expected the postcodes won't be in place until the middle of next year.
But the Labour Party said the cancellation should allow for a new system to be introduced.
Communications spokesperson Liz McManus said an approach based on a unique identifier should be adopted.
"A unique identifier system, provides for a speedy response by emergency services, provides greater efficiency and interaction with GPS technologies and does not require change in names of townlands," she said.