Paper Money

Irish banks issuing five new polymer notes

A decision in February by Northern Ireland’s First Trust Bank to discontinue issuing its own notes did not deter the other three issuers authorized by the United Kingdom from moving forward with new currency. 

Printer De La Rue said on March 7 that it played a key role in the design and production of the five new polymer bank notes by Danske Bank, Bank of Ireland, and Ulster Bank.

A press statement from the printer announced that Danske Bank issued a new £10 note and the Bank of Ireland and Ulster Bank launched new £5 and £10 notes, all on De La Rue’s Safeguard polymer substrate. De La Rue designed and printed all the notes issued by Danske Bank and the Bank of Ireland, and took the final Ulster Bank designs, created through a consultation with the local community, and converted them into secure bank notes.

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This puts the Northern Irish banks in line with the Bank of England and the three Scottish commercial banks in the move to polymer. The aspiration is that all U.K. bank notes will be clean, secure and more durable.

The notes share common security features to ensure those using them can make sure they are genuine. These include a clear window in the Safeguard substrate to look through, iridescent and SPARK ink to tilt and see, raised print, a tactile feature embossed into polymer to feel, and microprint and UV printing to check authenticity.

The banks opted for designs they felt represented Northern Ireland.

The Bank of Ireland maintained the image of The Old Bushmills Distillery in County Antrim and Danske Bank also decided to maintain its familiar design theme, including an upgraded portrait of John Dunlop who was credited with developing the first practical pneumatic tire from his office in Belfast.

Ulster Bank chose to redesign its notes and took the theme of Living in Nature after consultation with experts and the public. The Ulster Bank notes have a vertical orientation, a first for any standard issue UK bank note design. 

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