Chairperson of Newry, Mourne & Down Council, Cllr Roisin Mulgrew has described the sawing down of the Christmas Tree in the village of Bessbrook as a "wanton act of destruction"
The local Councillor was speaking after it was decided to remove the damaged tree from the centre of the village due to safety concerns.
Cllr Mulgrew explained
"The village Christmas Tree had all its lights broken and has been sawed practically the full way through. This is not the first time this has happened, as over the past years the tree has been the focus of deliberate attacks. The Council has had to remove the vandalised tree due to safety concerns. There is a strong possibility that it might not be replaced as many local people feel that those engaged in this wanton act of destruction, will attack it again"
The Sinn Féin elected representative continued,
"I share the anger and frustration of all right-minded people at this deliberate attack on a community trying to bring a festive flavour to their village. There is nothing funny about this criminal act of damage and hopefully those who carried it out will be identified and face the full rigorous of the law".
The local Councillor concluded
"I have asked Council Officers to take soundings from the local community on their views about replacing the Christmas Tree, as to how secure they feel it will be or whether it is a futile exercise".