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M&S leaves Northern Ireland logo off 'Best of the British Isles' cake

By Claire McNeilly

Published 25/11/2015

The packaging for the range includes three emblems - a rose, a daffodil and a thistle - representing England, Wales and Scotland. But there is nothing on the label which represents Northern Ireland
The packaging for the range includes three emblems - a rose, a daffodil and a thistle - representing England, Wales and Scotland. But there is nothing on the label which represents Northern Ireland
The packaging for the range includes three emblems - a rose, a daffodil and a thistle - representing England, Wales and Scotland. But there is nothing on the label which represents Northern Ireland

Shoppers have reacted with anger after Northern Ireland was excluded from a new 'British Isles' selection of baked goods in Marks and Spencer.

Consumers contacted the Belfast Telegraph to complain about the 'Tastes of the British Isles' range of cakes while unionist politicians have called for an urgent explanation.

The packaging for the range includes three emblems - a rose, a daffodil and a thistle - representing England, Wales and Scotland. But there is nothing on the label which represents Northern Ireland.

It is understood that a manager at one of the retail company's biggest local outlets has raised the issue with head office, having received a number of complaints in-store from customers.

A spokeswoman for Marks and Spencer said: "We're really proud of all the Northern Irish and Irish suppliers we work with and all our packaging is clearly labelled with where it has been sourced from."

Phyllis Berry, from Lisburn, recently bought a Blackcurrant Fool Cake at her local store at Sprucefield.

"It's a total disgrace," she said.

"When I looked at the logo on the box, I realised that Northern Ireland had been excluded from it and I was really shocked.

"We are part of the British Isles so I was expecting to see a shamrock on the packaging alongside the other national floral symbols."

Mrs Berry, a 74-year-old retired personal assistant, said it was the same story across the entire Tastes of the British Isles range of cakes on offer.

"It's just not the sort of thing you would expect from such a big company," she said.

"Northern Ireland people spend a lot of money on M&S food and I don't think it's in any way acceptable to exclude us from its logo."

Lagan Valley DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson said there was no excuse for the "outrageous omission".

"Marks and Spencer has got this hopelessly wrong," he said.

"Many of their customers will be very angry about this.

"It is deeply disappointing that customers in Northern Ireland do not have their symbol included in this promotion.

"We would like to see our symbol, the shamrock, there alongside Scotland, Wales and England and I hope senior management will get that message.

"I don't want to hear the excuse that this was an oversight. What I do want to hear is that they will put it right and that they won't repeat the mistake of excluding Northern Ireland again."

Mr Donaldson said the shamrock, which is generally recognised as the floral symbol of Northern Ireland, should be added to the logo immediately.

"The shamrock is associated with many of our national institutions - it appears on police and Royal Irish Regiment badges and it's on the shirt of the Irish rugby team, so it's an entirely appropriate symbol to use," he said.

"I can't believe the marketing team that put this together simply forgot about Northern Ireland, especially when you consider how popular and well-supported M&S is here."

UUP councillor Jim Rodgers, a former Lord Mayor of Belfast, said it was a glaring mistake and he called on the multinational to explain itself.

"This is totally wrong and it must be changed right away," he said.

"Why has Northern Ireland been left off? What's behind this? We need a clear-the-air statement from the company hierarchy telling us why this has been done."

Belfast Telegraph

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