THERE were faces as red as a Santa suit at Mid & East Antrim Council on Friday evening when officials said they were hauling down two Christmas Trees put up in ‘error’.
Officials said the trees will be back in place after Remembrance Sunday.
Earlier today ‘Ballymena Daily’ had reported on how the official town Christmas Tree had gone up outside The Braid Town Hall – 63 days ahead of Christmas.
Recently we reported how due to the pandemic there will be no official switch-on this year.
The Council had already revealed the lights will be switched on at an undisclosed time – most likely on a day in November after Remembrance Sunday – to prevent crowds from gathering due to covid concerns.
However, festive thoughts evaporated on Friday afternoon when there were dramatic developments in the corridors of power just yards from the official Tree.
On social media on Friday afternoon the Council said: ‘Two Christmas Trees were erected in Harryville and Ballymena today. This was an error on our part and they will be take down immediately.
‘These trees will not be in place in both locations until after Remembrance Sunday. We apologise for any offence caused within the community’.
Last November after the Christmas lights were switched on in Ballymena a woman appeared to take exception to the Christmas Tree being lit up “too early” at Harryville .
In scenes captured in an online video which was viewed over 40,000 times in just a few hours on the night it happened the woman seemed to grapple with the Christmas lights whilst being heard to say it was “too early” for the lights to be on.
In a message on social media on Friday afternoon, Ballymena DUP councillor John Carson had said: “As Veterans Champion for Mid and East Antrim Borough Council l was as shocked as anyone to see Christmas trees erected in Ballymena today.
“This was never passed in Council and it would appear someone has made a massive error as it is a rule in Council that they do not go up until after Remembrance Sunday.
“Cllr. Gregg McKeen DUP group leader has spoken to senior officers in council and we have been assured that trees will be removed immediately,” the councillor said.