I've wrote an email or two to Tom about this before, but I think Tom might have been suggesting that NI was not exempt from the recall.
NI for one reason or another is often not grouped together with the GB in sales etc and often major companies have separate business groups for NI - for example Sky TV have separate business groups for GB and NI despite both being part of the UK of GB and NI.
That could mean that the laptop sold in NI differed from those sold in the UK.
As the BBC story states ?The recall concerns 19 Vaio models in the TZ series manufactured between May 2007 and July 2008 - but does not include models sold in the UK? without qualifying ?UK? - I guess it is up to you to decide if the UK stands for GB or GB and NI.
It is officially the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. (Great Britain is England, Scotland, and Wales.)
Just so you know...