Belfast Telegraph

Christmas tree in Bessbrook replaced after damage by vandals

Festivities are back on course in a Co Armagh town after the installation of a replacement Christmas tree.

The original Christmas tree in Bessbrook was attacked by vandals on the night of November 30, when its trunk was sawn three-quarters of the way through and damage caused to its lights.

The damage was severe enough to require the tree to be taken down on safety grounds.

Following the incident, Chairperson of Newry, Mourne and Down District Council, Roisin Mulgrew, said residents were "very angry" at the "absolute wanton vandalism", and expressed concerns the council may be unable to provide another tree.

While the switch-on event in Bessbrook went ahead last Thursday, the 300 children in attendance were only able to see the other lights being switched on and not those on the Christmas tree.

Speaking to the Belfast Telegraph, UUP councillor with Newry, Mourne and Down District Council David Taylor confirmed that following an appeal from local representatives, the Council had been able to replace the tree damaged by vandals.

"I have to say, I would praise the officials for the efficient manner they dealt with the issue," he said.

"That was the desire of the community, they wanted the tree to be replaced - it has come to fruition with the replacement tree being placed."

Cllr Taylor confirmed the tree had been placed earlier on Tuesday, and it has since been decorated.

On the reasoning of the vandals who attacked the tree, he said: "It is hard to comprehend what is going through the mind of individuals who carry out the acts of vandalism. Community relations are good in the area, and it is difficult to understand why someone would think it is OK to carry out such an act."

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