A new Christmas Tree is to be erected in Kilkeel this week following a less than positive welcome for the present tree at the switch on on Saturday.

The 2019 Christmas Tree had come in for criticism with Cllr Séan Doran claiming that a meeting arranged to discuss concerns about the tree prior to the switch on was poorly attended.

Cllr Doran said "The people of Kilkeel and the Mournes are very disappointed and are very active on social media about the way the Christmas tree in Kilkeel was decorated.

The Rathfriland Christmas Tree.

"I share their dissatisfaction about this as a Mournes councillor I think I need to let the public know what has happened over this last month around this issue.

"On the 11 November all Mournes councillors got an email from council to attend a meeting in Kilkeel Leisure Centre because the Kilkeel Chamber of Commerce and KDA had concerns about the tree . At the meeting only myself councillor Willie Clarke ,Council officials and the chairs of KDA and Kilkeel Chamber of Commerce turned up, not one Unionist councillor attended this meeting .

"We discussed the issues with the tree and and made our feelings very clear that we were not happy with the plans to decorate it. Council told us we would get a look at the tree being lit before the official switch on . This took place on Thursday at 9pm which I was the only councillor to attend along with the chair off Kilkeel KDA and we both expressed our concerns with the tree and let me say it was a lot worse decorated than it is now .

"Yesterday I attended Dickens day with councillor Harold McKee and the deputy chair of council it was a fantastic turn out which was ruined by the switch on as people were really disappointed with the tree. I'm really disappointed about this but i also have to say that people need to be asking the councillors from Kilkeel who they voted for and probably will be complaining this week about the tree why they did not attend the meeting about the tree and why did they not turn up yesterday to represent the people who voted for them at the biggest cross Communuty event of the year in Kilkeel."

One woman commented on Facebook "For years at Christmas time the tree was the main event.. It used to be lit well and effort actually put in. What had happened? Why don't people care?
It's that much of a disgrace the community would be safer coming together and gathering up funds to do it ourselves from now on.
If it meant a nicely decorated tree for my kids to see, visitors and passers by to talk about in a positive way and not the laughing stock we are."

Commenting about a replacement on Facebook Cllr Doran said "A new 9meter (30ft) fully decorated cut Christmas tree will be erected in the events area in the square Kilkeel this week. I trust that this will help ease the disaffection felt by the whole community over the Christmas tree"


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