POSTAL codes will be introduced throughout Ireland sooner rather than later, according to the incoming chairman of An Post.
Christoph Mueller (51) has also promised to look into the pay of top executives within the ailing postal service, where the chief executive earns a salary twice that of Taoiseach Enda Kenny.
The German native, who has turned around the fortunes of Aer Lingus within the space of just three years, has warned that there is no "silver bullet" to fix the ailing postal service.
He told members of an Oireachtas Joint Committee on Transport and Communication that he believes the introduction of postal codes "should gain more prominence" to enable the sorting process to become more efficient and to save money that could be spent on subsiding unprofitable components of the postal network.
Limerick TD Patrick O'Donovan (FG) told Mr Mueller that he had "huge difficulties" with the fact that Donal Connell, CEO of An Post, earned "twice the Taoiseach's salary" at a time when the company sustained an operating loss of €17m last year and a total loss of €40m.
Mr Connell earns €438,000 – a drop from the €495,000 he was paid before agreeing to a 15pc pay cut.
Mr O'Donovan – who earns a TD's salary of €92,672 – asked if Mr Mueller would encourage people at the top of company to "look at themselves first" before looking to implement cost savings within the company.
Mr Mueller – who receives a salary of €1.29m as head of Aer Lingus and will be paid at least €31,000 for his part-time role at An Post – refused to comment directly on the issue, saying that as chairman-designate he was unable to "specifically respond" to the query. However, he promised to "look into remuneration" and to review what he sees.
The airline chief comes to his new role in An Post with background experience in the postal business, having previously worked for DHL before it was taken over by Deutsche Post, he told members of an Oireachtas committee.
He also warned that he sees "a real conflict" developing since "what is closest to our hearts" and what makes An Post such a trusted brand is that the "last mile – the post office and the post man" remains "the most unprofitable part of our entire business".
Meanwhile, there is still progress to be made on the issue of delivery speeds, he added.