The People Behind the Post

Posted on: 20 March 2015

A staggering 6,000 kg of post is delivered to Trinity on average each month and over 1 million items of post have been sent from the College over the past four years. The hub of activity for the meticulous daily sorting and distributing is the Mail Room, located in Arch 1 under the railway line by Pearse Street. 

Trinity’s Mail Room is managed by a team of four, Peter Blanchfield who heads up the team and has been a postman for 32 years in Trinity, Fernando Inniss, James Marrinan and William Richardson.

Peter Blanchfield, William Richardson, James Marrinan and Fernando Inniss - the Mail Room Team

Starting work at 7.00am, the day begins with Trinity’s post van travelling to An Post’s sorting office in Cardiff Lane where there will be between 15 – 25 large bags to be picked up. Post is heaped up on a large sorting table in the Mail Room for letters and parcels to be individually sorted into colour coded pigeon holes divided by the geographical layout of the campus.  As Peter notes, an ongoing challenge is keeping abreast of the changes in College addresses resulting from restructuring and the relocation of offices. Bundles of post are all neatly aligned in size order with the names and addresses facing in the same direction for redistribution. Deliveries are ongoing throughout the day with the bulk of the mail delivered between 9.00am and 11.00am. Attendants from the off campus buildings such as the Trinity Biomedical Sciences Institute, College Green and  D’Olier Street  collect the post from College. In addition, a hatch service is availed of by students and staff who are residents on campus.

An electric toothbrush making an ominous ticking noise, singing greeting cards, mobile phones ringing in parcels and some St Valentine’s Day card envelopes with exuberant decorations are among the most unusual deliveries to date. Whilst there has been a decrease in the volume of post with the global increased use of e-mail, the Mail Room is still very busy.

The high professional standard of the Mail Room’s service has been recognised with the recent announcement that it has been awarded a Gold Certificate by Postal and Logistics Consulting World Wide (PLCWW) for the delivery of effective and efficient mailroom management. Trinity College is only the second university to be awarded a Gold Certificate by PLCWW after the first assessment.

The PLCWW Mail Room evaluation covered the following 14 areas: internal conditions, layout, mail flow, equipment, inward sorting, delivery/collections, outward sorting, operators, staff performance, management controls, health and safety, security, ecological factors and operational methodology. Audits are conducted for universities, local authorities, international organisations, health trusts and, Government Departments.

A valued Mail Room member, Paul Cooke, is seriously ill at present. Paul started in the Mail Room as an 18 year old and on 31 March 2015 he will be in service for 35 years. Paul was conferred with a Master in Arts (Jure Officii) in absentia on 28 January 2015 in a special ceremony held in the Provost’s saloon. This is the first time such a conferring took place in the Provost’s House. Pro-Chancellor, Dr Eddie McParland delivered a heartfelt speech after the official proceedings. Paul’s parchment was collected by his brother-in-law, Vincent Keogh, who is married to Paul’s sister, Bernie.