‘Mindless act’: Village’s Christmas tree wrecked by vandals

Cllr Janet Gray MBE at the Christmas tree in Dromara village.
Cllr Janet Gray MBE at the Christmas tree in Dromara village.

A local councillor has said she was “shocked, dismayed and absolutely disgusted” after vandals ripped lights and baubles off the Christmas tree in Dromara village in the early hours of Christmas Eve.

DUP Councillor Janet Gray MBE, who was “privileged and honoured” to switch the village’s Christmas tree lights on December 2, hit out at those responsible for the “malicious vandalism”.

“The vandals climbed the tree, tore the lights and baubles off and smashed them to the ground. The shards were strewn around the tree, in front of the children’s play park and across the Village Square,” she explained.

“The community Christmas tree switch on is always a lovely event and this year was no exception, as many friends and family came together to celebrate the Christmas festivities, so I was shocked, dismayed and absolutely disgusted to learn that the community Christmas tree had been maliciously vandalised.”

Appealing for witnesses to come forward, Cllr Gray added: “This was a mindless act of vandalism and if anyone has any information, please contact the PSNI on 101.”

The Chairman of Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council’s Leisure and Community Development Committee, Alderman James Tinsley, said council staff were due to assess the extent of the damage to the tree on Wednesday, December 27.

“It is very disappointing that this has happened. I hope the local community’s enjoyment of the Christmas Tree has not been too badly affected,” he commented.

“Unfortunately given we became aware of this on Christmas Eve holiday time, we were limited as to what could be done. However our crews will fully assess the damage as a priority on Wednesday 27th December and see if it’s possible to fix or repair the lights and decorations.”

Alderman Tinsley concluded: “This is an example of how someone’s thoughtless actions affect others and I find this vandalism particularly sad because at Christmas we should be thinking about other people and showing kindness, not wrecking the community’s enjoyment of the village Christmas tree.”

The council said it will update people on the outcome of its inspection and assessment of the Dromara Christmas tree using its social media platforms.