Kilkeel Christmas Tree Is Very Impressive Says Cllr McKee
Mournes Councillor Harold McKee, Deputy Chairperson of Newry Mourne and Down District Council, has praised the work of council officers and staff for their efforts with this year’s Christmas Tree in Kilkeel writes Laura Barr.
Cllr McKee told Down News that this year’s tree has proved to be a “very impressive sight” and in stark contrast to last year’s “poor performance” of illuminations on Kilkeel’s sustainable tree.
Kilkeel’s 2019 Christmas Tree was deemed the ‘Worst Christmas Tree’ in Northern Ireland when much to the dismay of local ratepayers it resembled something ‘Scrooge had erected’.
Down News understand that only £5,000 was allocated from NMDDC budget to the tree in Kilkeel while ratepayers in Newcastle were given a generous tree worth £26,000.
Cllr McKee said: “From the lighting of last year’s sustainable tree we were aware we had a problem which had to be dealt with in the quickest possible terms.
“A cut Christmas tree was erected by council staff and illuminated shortly afterwards in the event space which added greatly to the already lit-up deciduous trees.”
The UUP representative added that the Kilkeel Christmas tree was always on the agenda of the Christmas Illuminations Committee and the Neighbourhood Services Committee and Cllr McKee made sure the Kilkeel and Annalong trees were kept to the forefront of all business discussed.
He added: “Due to the size of the event space, the council officer realised that we could not plant a sustainable tree in the middle of the area as it would have greatly reduced the space for other events in the town.
“Following a number of discussions and cost checks it was agreed to erect a 12-metre artificial tree at the cost of £25,000, all of which was approved at various meetings.
“This year’s tree has certainly excelled our expectations despite not being able to have our usual illuminations switch on due to the Covid-19 regulations.
“In addition, we are not able to have our usual 100 plus Heartbeat NI Santa’s on Dicken’s Day along with the colourful display of floats and the all-important greeting of Santa.
“However, we must try to enjoy our Christmas period and remember those who are less fortunate than ourselves.”