An Post is forecasting Ireland's busiest ever online shopping fortnight, as Black Friday and Cyber Monday approach.

In recent weeks An Post has delivered 2.5 million parcels a week and it expects this to hit 3.3 million a week between now and mid-December.

An Post said that parcel volumes are up 230% on the same period last year, due to early Christmas shopping, online retail offers and a push to support local.

It said letter volumes are also rising steadily.

In October, An Post opened a second automated parcel hub in CityWest in Dublin.

David McRedmond, CEO of An Post, said the company's investment in parcels automation means that they have the capacity to deal with this surge. 

"Parcel volumes have reached spectacular levels as the lockdown has driven all early-Christmas purchasing online," David McRedmond said.

"Processing and delivery are taking longer than normal and we are delivering record volumes of parcels seven days a week," he said. 

"It’s great to see such huge support for Irish goods and that customers are acting on our advice to post early to overseas destinations," he added.

Mr McRedmond said the company has employed 1,000 extra staff members this Christmas.

"Our delivery staff have new scanning technology and electric vehicles to help them get parcels and letters to customers as quickly as possible. 

"We're working around the clock to deliver parcels and cards to customers speedily and safely," he said.