Liberalisation of the Postal Services Market
The Communications Regulation (Postal Services) Act, 2011 (No. 21 of 2011) came into effect on 2nd August 2011. The Act can be viewed on the Irish Statute Book, here.
The main purpose of this Act is to make provision in Irish law for the final stage in the opening of the postal services market to competition, as required by the third EU Postal Services Directive (EU Directive 2008/6/EC) and to set out the regulatory obligations for postal service providers. The Act also guarantees the ongoing provision of a universal postal service, the essential element of which is the collection and delivery of mail to every address in the State on every working day.
In addition, the Act
- enables the Minister for Communications to establish, maintain and operate a national postcode system; and
- amends Broadcasting legislation, principally to give legal effect to Budget 2011 decisions regarding payments from TV Licence receipts, including a provision for the funding of TG4.
The above legislation was enacted on 2nd August 2011 and transposes the 3rd Postal Services Directive, Directive 2008/6/EC.
This Directive provides for full liberalisation of the postal services market and maintains the obligation on Member States to ensure the provision of universal postal services, which is the clearance and delivery of post to the home or premises of every person five days a week.
A number of decisions were left to individual Member States with respect to how this Directive is transposed and following a comprehensive public consultation in 2008, an Options Paper was prepared which explored the issues that the Directive presents for Ireland and set out recommendations as to the Department’s preferred approach across a number of policy decisions. In designing the new regulatory framework, the key principles are the maintenance of universal postal services and the provision of competitively priced high quality postal services to both business and residential customers.
The recommendations in the Options Paper were discussed at a forum with key stakeholders in late 2009 and draft legislative proposals were approved by Government in July 2010.
A Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) on the legislative proposals was also prepared. This can be viewed at the following link: Regulatory Impact Analysis.