AFTER YEARS of military-style uniforms with peaked caps, shirts and ties, the postmen and women of Ireland will don “workwear” to deliver the post. And for the first time in the history of the postal service, knees may be visible. Launched yesterday at the GPO, the new An Post uniform will be worn from today.

It includes knee-length shorts for warm summer days as well as steel-toed boots with crampons to deal with snowy winters. The €2 million uniform also includes cargo trousers with pockets on the legs, gilets, baseball caps, woollen beanie hats and all-weather gear in shades of blue with green trims.

When Post  & Telegraphs split into Telecom Éireann and An Post in January 1984, there was a modest change in style from the distinctive uniform worn by postal workers all around the country, akin to that of an army officer or a garda. In 1987 designer Paul Costelloe softened the military edge, but kept the distinct navy trousers, with a blue shirt and tie. Looking like a delivery man from an American sitcom, Keith Lally shivered in the summer outfit yesterday, with shorts, short-sleeve shirt and baseball cap.

The 19-year-old postman said staff were pleased with the uniforms. “They are much more practical. The old trousers were brutal; they had no pockets for our scanners and weren’t practical at all,” he said. Larry Byrne from Naas, Co Kildare, was among a team of staff who had a chance to road-test the gear. During the heavy snow the new uniform was comfortable and easy to wear, he said, and the layers made it light, but very warm. Derry-based uniform specialists Hunter Apparel produced the new kit with input from staff and management. Practicality, weight and the ability to machine wash were all factors considered in the design, a spokeswoman from An Post said.

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