An Post. [165]


On 1 January 1984, the Ministry of Posts & Telegraph transitioned to a private corporation, An Post (albeit, owned in entirety by the government).  The name An Post is translated as “The Post Office”. (Figure 1).  The telegraph and telephone operation was split off as a separate corporation Telecomms Eireann, and later, Eir.  By transferring out of the direct government control, the main advantages were seen at the time as being fiscally oriented.  The Post Office had been the largest single employer in Ireland, along with having the largest sector of civil service employees, and political pressure was constant to continue with outdated operations and procedures.

The Post Office had been limited by legislation, much of which dated from the 1870’s, which dictated obsolete procedures and limited economic operation.  For example, the Post Office paid for the official mail from their budget for all government agencies rather than funds coming from the respective agency’s budget, thus creating unwieldy situations and abuse of official mail.  

The January-March 1984 issue of Irish Stamp News, foresaw changes in operations and marketing. (Figure 2).  This change was similar to the seen when other Post Offices, including the United States Post Office, were de-federalized.  Most changes were successful, but a few were less so. For example, it took almost 20 years to establish a postal code system, which is slowly gaining usage. (Figure 3). The number of post offices and postal stations was unsupportable.  Many were located where the population had decreased.  Today, there are about 1,100.

In one area of concern to collectors, marketing of stamps to dealer and collectors improved immensely.  The number of new issues increased significantly, but the volume was controlled to avoid the massive overstocks seen in the 1970’s and ‘80’s.  This has resulted in Irish stamps increasing in value with time and providing greater subject options.

Other changes have been seen with new services, and marketing techniques previously unheard of.  A quarterly magazine Collector News replaced previous single-paged flyers.  (Figure 4).  Souvenir sheets appear regularly.  Booklets were issued in many different varieties and values.  Prestige booklets, comprised of pages with the story along with the stamps were created.  (Figure 5).  An Post booths started appearing at major international shows world-wide.  Self-inking cancellers came into regular use.  Automation and products for automated dispensing appeared.  (Figure 6).   Self-adhesive stamps are today accepted items, but in the 1980’s they were new and daring. (Figure 7).  This is only a sampling of the changes.
Irish Stamp News, Published by MacDonnell Whyte Ltd, January-March 1984 issue,
Wikipedia,,  An Post, accessed 13 June 2019

19 June 2019.