Community speaks out against vandals

The group behind the organisation of the festive celebrations in Moira, as well as the erection of the village’s Christmas tree, have said they are very disappointed that the tree was vandalised in the run up to Christmas.

Last week the police appealed for information about who was responsible for damaging the tree and the crime was condemned by local councillor John Palmer.

This week, Matt Peach, manager of Logic Cafe in Moira, said he, and the young people who helped to decorate the village, were very disappointed.

“The young people of Moira from LOGIC help run the event every year,” he explained.

“Over the past three years, we have spent over £1,500 gathering decorations and lights for the tree.

“We also engage with the whole community as we organise the event – inviting local schools to participate in both the poetry competition, the winner of which is invited to turn on the lights, and, of course, carol singing. Our two local primary schools join together and sing for us on the evening of the big switch on.”

Matt continued: “The event is enjoyed by the whole community. This year over 1,000 people joined us November 27 to switch on the Christmas tree lights.

“The tree was looking its best in years and there has been a lot of positive feedback from the entire community. Sadly it was not long before the tree was vandalised, following the first incident, the council very kindly spent time and money replacing the damaged lights for which I am personally very grateful.

“However, the tree was once again vandalised the following weekend.

“The damage to the tree and the decorations is well over the £1,000 mark, not to mention the time and money that the council have spent repairing the damage and replacing some of the lights.

“The frustrating thing is that LOGIC, an all inclusive youth club in Moira run by the local Church of Ireland, is the organisation that picks up the bill and we will now have to spend a further three or four years gathering new lights and decorations.

“It is an absolute disgrace that a small minority of mindless vandals feel the urge to destroy our community Christmas tree.

“There is a general feeling of outrage throughout the community at this mindless destruction,” said Matt.

“I am extremely disappointed by the behaviour of a small minority. I hope that one day they will reflect on their actions and realise how foolish they have been, that being said, we won’t let this incident get in the way of another great community event next year,” he concluded.

It was reported to the police that an unknown number of people had caused criminal damage to the tree over the weekend of December 14 and 15.

Local police received a report of criminal damage to the tree in the Main Street area of Moira on Sunday December 15.

A spokesperson for the police explained: “It was reported that at approximately 3am, a number of unknown persons caused damage to a Christmas tree.”

Police would ask anyone who witnessed this incident or who has any information to contact Police at Lisburn on 0845 600 8000.

Alternatively,information can be passed anonymously to the police via the independant charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.