Thursday 22 February 2018

Is this the worst Christmas tree in Ireland - have you seen worse?

Lisa Smyth

A pitiful Christmas tree in a Co Antrim town has been called the worst in Northern Ireland.

The festive fir in Ballycastle is more drab than fab, with a single string of barely noticeable lights hanging on a small section.

The town's Christmas lights were turned on on December 3, but adverse weather conditions took a heavy toll on the tree.

Decorations were blown away in the coastal gales and the few lights on the tree have only worked intermittently.

As a result, the tree has been branded pathetic and disgraceful on social media.

Causeway Coast and Glens Council UUP councillor Joan Baird said she had been contacted by local residents and traders keen to complain about the shabby decorations.

She said that she planned to raise the matter at a meeting of the council last night.

"I've had a couple of complaints from constituents about the Christmas tree and I do agree that it looks a bit sorry for itself," she told the Belfast Telegraph.

"I have no idea how many lights are on it, but it certainly doesn't look great."

Independent councillor Seamus Blaney also hit out at the disappointing show.

He said: "I was talking about it to some local people, and I would love to know how much the Christmas tree cost the council.

"It looks terrible, but it isn't the fault of the people who were putting it up.

"The weather has been terrible and the decorations have been blown off and then blown up and down the street.

"I know that there have been men out to try and get the lights working and get the decorations sorted, but I think that they are fighting a bit of a losing battle, to be honest.

"I've been talking to traders in the town and they aren't too happy. They said they haven't seen anything like it in their lives."

It is not the first time that council officials on the north coast have felt the wrath of disappointed locals and traders over limp and lacklustre Christmas displays.

Last year, Moyle District Council - now part of Causeway Coast and Glens Council - was forced to act after a campaign was launched to replace the Christmas tree in Bushmills.

The offering in the Co Antrim village was branded one of the worst festive trees ever seen in the UK.

Community worker Derwyn Brewster began a Facebook campaign within hours of its unveiling - and three days later it was replaced by the council.

Meanwhile, in 2010, council officials in Downpatrick were also forced to respond to complaints about their Christmas tree offering.

It was branded a "credit crunch Christmas tree" after it was erected between a public toilet block and postbox.

However, Down District Council replaced it with a larger Christmas tree in the town's St Patrick Square.

The following year, Downpatrick pulled out all the stops to avoid a repeat of the previous year's humiliation by splashing out on a 35ft artificial tree and lights. The tree, decorated with 5,000 lights, took pride of place in the-then newly renovated town square outside the St Patrick Centre.

Belfast Telegraph

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