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M&S to change 'Tastes of the British Isles' logo to include shamrock after public outcry

By Claire McNeilly

Marks and Spencer has bowed to public pressure and will now feature a shamrock on its 'Tastes of the British Isles' food range.

There was widespread anger last November when this newspaper revealed the retail giant excluded Northern Ireland from its new selection of baked goods, using only the traditional symbols of England, Scotland and Wales.

Now, however, it can be revealed that M&S has relented, and confirmed it has amended the packaging to include the shamrock alongside the rose, thistle and daffodil.

The Belfast Telegraph understands that these changes will be introduced in the company's next printing run and will be evident in stores in the not too distant future.

It is also understood that products from Northern Ireland which are recognised as inherently Irish, like Irish pancakes, will feature a 'Taste of Ireland' shamrock logo instead.

A M&S spokeswoman last night confirmed that the Tastes of the British Isles logo is to be amended "following customer feedback".

"We're very proud of the Northern Irish suppliers we work with and clearly label our packaging with details of where each product is sourced from" she said. "The logo on products that are labelled as being sourced from Northern Ireland will soon feature a shamrock alongside the rose, daffodil and thistle."

Lagan Valley DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson had previously said there was no excuse for the "outrageous omission" and he called for the shamrock, which is generally recognised as the floral symbol of Northern Ireland, to be added 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.

He welcomed the company's decision to amend the packaging and said it was "good news" that the province was afforded pride of place alongside its UK counterparts.

"I'm delighted that M&S has taken this decision and that Northern Ireland will be symbolised on their future logos as this has the potential to reach millions of people across the UK and beyond," he added.

"Personally, I'm delighted that M&S have responded to our representations. This goes to prove that when people speak out, both the corporate and the political world do respond."

Retired bank clerk Tim Ferres, from Belfast, was one of many local customers who contacted the company to voice his displeasure that Northern Ireland had been excluded from the original logo.

But he said he was pleased that M&S had finally decided to take his comments on board, adding: "It is about time the advertising team amended a fairly glaring mistake."

High Sheriff of Belfast Jim Rodgers said the people who raised complaints with him will be "over the Moon" at the company's decision to change the logo.

"I would like to thank the Belfast Telegraph for highlighting this issue and I've no doubt M&S yielded to public pressure," the Ulster Unionist said.

"I hope something like this never happens again. Quite a few people were enraged - and rightly so - that Northern Ireland was left out, but it's fantastic to hear that they intend to rectify their mistake on the packaging at long last."

Belfast Telegraph


From Belfast Telegraph