Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland only UK region not to include the Union flag on new driving licences

Decision has faced harsh criticism

A decision to exclude the Union flag from appearing on Northern Ireland driving licences has been blasted.

New driving licences issued to motorists in Great Britain are to carry the flag, Westminster has announced.

But Northern Ireland, where driver licensing is a devolved matter, is the only region in the UK which will not.

It will appear alongside the European Union flag on licences issued in England, Scotland and Wales in future, the UK's Transport Minister Claire Perry has said.

"People in this country rightly take pride in our national flag which is why I am delighted it will now be displayed on British driving licences," she said.

"Celebrating Britain strengthens our sense of national identity and our unity. I will feel proud to carry my new licence and I hope others will too."

But Ukip councillor Henry Reilly said the decision was "insulting to the vast majority of Northern Irish residents".

"It is Ironic that the English, Welsh and Scots will have St Patrick's cross on their licence as part of the Union flag while the country it represents will be denied that right," he said.

DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson said the exclusion was "highly regrettable".

"It is an issue we will be raising with the Department of Transport in London," he told the News Letter.

"One would have hoped that, after the Scottish referendum, the government at Westminster would have learned a few lessons about the need to proactively promote the Union."

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