Belfast Telegraph

Is this the most pathetic Christmas tree in Northern Ireland?

Fintona residents label Christmas tree a 'sad-looking specimen'

The Christmas tree in Fintona
The Christmas tree in Fintona
The Christmas tree in Fintona
The Christmas tree in Fintona
Allan Preston

By Allan Preston

A "sad-looking specimen" of a Christmas tree has prompted festive outrage in the Co Tyrone village of Fintona, with locals far from impressed with this year's offering.

Pictures of the tree, provided by Fermanagh and Omagh District Council, were met with derision when they appeared on social media.

Commenting on a Facebook page, one woman said: "What a sad-looking specimen.

"Obviously a lot of thought and effort put into this project!"

Another woman called it an "embarrassing, pathetic attempt at a community Christmas tree", while a local man said it "looks like something pulled out of the edge of Fivemiletown mountain".

One grandmother said she looked forward to taking her grandchildren to see Christmas trees in the Omagh area, but she would be skipping Fintona this year.

Choosing to see the inner beauty of the Fintona tree, a more forgiving resident said: "At least it has a few baubles and bows. The one in Beragh will have the hideous green lights that it has had on it for the last few years and nothing else."

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Noting the date, another man said: "What yous (sic) complaining for? Sure it's only November anyway."

Offering a positive solution, one woman said it offered a chance for local children to get involved.

"They should have got the kids of the community to decorate the tree, bring them all to the spirit of Christmas to bring the wee tree to life and colour."

Responding to the criticism, Fermanagh and Omagh District Council said: "The council supplies Christmas trees to a number of towns and villages including Fintona and is responsible for the supply and erection of the trees.

"The local community is responsible for its decoration."

SDLP councillor Mary Garrity said efforts were now being made to improve the situation.

"The initial response from the village is one of disappointment and I can understand that," she said.

"We're working on that now to see if there's anything we can do. It's still November but things move on very quickly and a lot of Christmas lights will be switched on soon because we want Christmas shoppers and local traders to get the benefit of it.

"I know in other villages they set up committees to help decorate the tree and go to a lot of effort to make it a fun community event.

"It's also true when these trees aren't yet decorated and are in the daylight they often don't look the best.

"Personally, I think there's a supply and demand issue with the trees as well and we have to be very conscious with the environmental issues we're facing."

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