Northern bank launches plastic £5
The Irish Times
A plastic banknote was launched today by the Northern bank. The £5 commemorative note - made of a special polymer - is the first of its kind to be issued by any bank in the European Union.
Two million of the notes are being issued by the Northern Bank to mark the advent of the millennium.
As part of the bank's celebrations it is also issuing 50,000 limited edition plastic notes next month with the January 1st 2000 date printed on them.
The new note has enhanced security features making counterfeiting more difficult, is waterproof, almost impossible to tear and should last up to four times as long as the traditional note.
Mr Tony Murphy, the bank's chief operating officer, said: "This new note will mark Northern Bank's entry into the new millennium."
In another departure from the norm, the note is designed vertically instead of horizontally and reflects the beginning of the universe, starting with an Alpha motif at the bottom of the note and moving up to the advent of Christianity - depicted by the Star of Bethlehem in the top right hand corner.
A spaceship reaching upwards towards space and the stars mark man's technological achievements over the last millennium.