An Post is the State-owned provider of postal services. 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; Swiftpost, an all-Ireland next-day delivery service; EMS the 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, 1983, the postal services of the Department of Posts & Telegraphs (P&T) were divided between two new organizations: An Post and Telecom Éireann (the latter being the telecommunications operator now called Eircom). At its inception, during the early years of the Irish Free State, the Department of Posts & 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 postal service in Ireland had been under the control of the General Post Office that was established in 1660.
Today An Post remains one of the largest employers in the State, although it has undergone considerable downsizing. It is still loss-making in parts.
The Irish government announced the introduction of a postcode system in Ireland from 2008 though An Post was against the system, saying it is unnecessary. The date for introduction of the system remains open given the new Minister's assertion that additional public consultation is required.
An Post is involved in a number of subsidiaries-some of these it has complete ownership of; others are partly owned by An Post such as the An Post National Lottery Company and the Prize Bond Company Limited.
An Post National Lottery Company:
An Post holds the licence granted by the Minister for Finance to run the National Lottery through its subsidiary, An Post National Lottery Company. All employees of An Post National Lottery Company are seconded from An Post, and as such are employed and paid by An Post rather than by the subsidiary.
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. It also introduced a service whereby newsagents could provide some Post Office services, entitled PostPoint. This was thought to have reversed a downward trend in business. PostTS also expanded abroad, with operations in the UK and Spain.
In 2005 PostTS sold its foreign operations. The rebrand of Post Office was partially reversed after some criticism, with the traditional An Post logo restored to Post Offices (the red-and-white symbol has been dropped from Post Offices, but remains in use for the company's website BillPay.ie and for PostPoint). The original PostTS shop front design which featured predominantly English branding "PostOffice" with the location in English, has also been replaced with the Irish language "OifiganPhoist", with the location in both Irish and English (the PostOffice logo can still be seen, but at smaller locations is typically only on a hanging sign, not the shop front). At this time this change is complete at almost all premises.
On 5 October 2006 An Post signed a final agreement for the creation of a joint venture with Fortis to provide financial services through the Post Office network. The new venture will offer a range of 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, will become part of the new company, which will have access to the Post Office network.
On 29 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). The bank's savings and investment products include Solid Saver and Sure Investor. On 12 May 2008 Postbank launched a current account.
Postbank is now a 50:50 venture between An Post and BNP Paribas. They offer current accounts, savings accounts, fixed term deposits, credit cards (VISAs in association with MBNA), along with home and car insurance, and life assurance (term and Over 50s).
The closure of the Postbank unit was announced on 26 February 2010. No new customers are being accepted as of this date, and the operation is due to be wound down by the end of December 2010.
TV licensing is administered by An Post. An Post is responsible for collection of revenue, inspection and prosecution in cases of non-payment of the licence on behalf of RTÉ.
C Both Sides:
In 2009, An Post sponsored a national and international postcard project, called C Both Sides. It ran for a year, with the public being invited to create postcards on different themes. They were then displayed around the country.