Carrick-on-Suir fury as town left without Christmas tree for first time in nearly fifty years

Aileen Hahesy

Reporter:

Aileen Hahesy

Carrick-on-Suir fury as town left without Christmas tree for first time in nearly fifty years

Carrick-on-Suir left without a Christmas tree for first time in nearly fifty years.

Tipperary Co. Council has come under fire for not erecting Christmas trees for Carrick-on-Suir town for the first time in nearly half a century. 

The absence of the town's traditional Christmas trees outside Carrick-on-Suir Garda Station and in Carrickbeg was roundly criticised by Carrick-on-Suir councillors at the December meeting of Carrick-on-Suir Municipal District. 

They told Council officials there had been a lot of public criticism of the absence of the two Christmas trees on social media and right across the town. 

Cllr Kieran Bourke (FF), who raised the issue at the meeting, said this was the first time since 1971 the Council had not erected a Christmas tree outside Carrick Garda Station.

He called on Council management to give an assurance this wouldn't happen next year and asked why had the Council's policy changed. 

He said the Council and Carrick-on-Suir Business Association's names were "dirt" around the town over this.  The Council had always paid for the trees and their erection, which cost €600, while Carrick-on-Suir Business Association decorated the trees. 

"If you are going to start cutting back you may as well cancel Christmas," he declared. 

Cllr Dunne complained it was another example of the town and people of Carrick-on-Suir missing out because of the merger of South and North Tipperary Councils. 

He said he was very disappointed the town's councillors weren't consulted about this change of Council policy. 

Carrick-on-Suir Municipal District Administrator Martin Nolan told the meeting the Council didn't erect Christmas trees in the town this year because it was under the impression Carrick-on-Suir Business Association wanted to do something different this year erecting Christmas lights on existing trees in the town centre. 

Mr Nolan said he had seen some of the criticism of Carrick-on-Suir Business Association on social media and believed it was "extremely unfair".  The Business Association did a first class job and deserved huge credit for its involvement in the Carrick-on-Suir Christmas Tractors Parade on December 16 that brought the biggest crowd to the town since the 1990s. 

Carrick-on-Suir MD Director Pat Slattery assured councillors the decision not to erect Christmas trees in Carrick this year had nothing to do with the merger of the county councils and stressed it was not due to lack of money. 

"We have done it (erected the trees) in co-operation with COSBA in the past and are favourably disposed to it next year. It's nothing to do with us," he said. 

Cllr Bourke said  COSBA informed him the Association didn't make the decision not to provide the Christmas trees for the town. 

Mr Slattery replied: "We are very happy to provide the trees. I think we should leave it at that." 

A COSBA spokesman said the Association never provides the town's Christmas trees or puts them up. This was done by the Council and the Association's job was to decorate the trees.  If the Council provided Christmas trees this year, the Association would have decorated them with lights. 

He said the Association has decorated existing trees on Main Street with Christmas lights and it hoped to expand this initiative next year. While the Council didn't erect a Christmas tree in Carrickbeg this year, the Association decorated a tree growing in a green area near Wall's Pub that was close to a power source. He criticised the viciousness of the critical comments directed at COSBA on social media and described their tone and content as bullying. Meanwhile, Carrick Municipal District Chairman Cllr John Fahey (FG) told the meeting the Co. Council didn't provide the town Christmas trees in Fethard and Killenaule. Community groups in both towns had planted Fir trees that were decorated for Christmas every year.