Belfast Telegraph

'Dull and drab' - Newry residents furious at state of Christmas tree


By Cate McCurry

A Christmas tree in Co Down has been branded "disgusting" by unimpressed locals.

Disappointed residents and business owners in Newry have blasted the city's tree as "bland" with many calling for it to be replaced.

Lacklustre decorations and gaps in the foliage drew in strong criticism from ratepayers who described it as laughable.

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The tree was unveiled during the annual Christmas lights switch-on in front of families and business owners.

Images of the tree have since appeared across social media sites after it was erected on Hill Street last month.

One resident said: "Did Scrooge put this tree up?

"I mean get a grip Newry - dress it up or take it down."

Gary Stokes, an SDLP councillor for Newry, was contacted by a number of locals who said the tree appeared as if it had "been thrown up".

"On the night the lights were switched on, it was not that impressive and I said that to the council as a lot of people have contacted me about it," Mr Stokes said.

"It looks drab and dull. If you are not going to do it right, don't do it at all.

"It looks as though it was going through the motions, ticking the box that we have a tree up in the city.

"But we have to ensure it is decorated properly. Even the quality of the tree itself has to be improved.

"It does nothing to lift the town so we definitely have to get something done about it this year. But if nothing can be done then we need to get it sorted going forward.

"If we are going to spend money on things to try and welcome people to the city, we have to do it right. But this Christmas tree does not say that.

"It looks as though it has been thrown up.

"I don't think anyone has taken ownership and said 'let's make this thing look really good' and given we are the only city in our district it's very disappointing.

"Even the night the lights were turned on - families turned out in the cold weather, but it was drab looking.

"Local traders are trying to encourage people to come into the city and the tree is the focal point of the decorations. We also get a lot of shoppers from the South and we like to make the place look festive."

Many locals blasted the tree as "disgusting".

One Newry shopper posted on Facebook: "There are no words - even my three-year-old said this Christmas tree looks sick.

"Newry council must be proud, better off not putting a tree on at all than this. Newry is a lovely city, but this tree is definitely not adding any charm here."

Another outraged resident posted on Facebook: "Disgusting - the council should be ashamed of themselves."

Meanwhile, Downpatrick's Christmas tree also attracted unwanted attention after some residents questioned why part of the tree was left visibly bare while the rest was covered with festive lights.

Last month, Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Council was forced to remove its Christmas tree in Banbridge after it was branded among the worst in Northern Ireland, and was replaced with a better one.

Belfast Telegraph

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