Floods claim recycled Christmas tree


FRANTIC EFFORTS were being made last night to salvage a 100ft steel Christmas tree which went adrift in the raging floods of the River Shannon, where it was to be erected in mid-stream for the festive period.

The tree, made entirely from recycled steel, escaped its moorings as it was being tugged into place in the middle of the river.

The incident occurred shortly before the official switching on of Limerick’s Christmas lights.

The tree was carried downstream and crashed into Shannon Bridge, where it came to a halt.

Emergency services attended and remained on standby to refloat the tree at low tide. But the strong flow of water caused it to tilt at 45 degrees, resulting in the closure of the bridge to traffic.

A truck with a winch remained at the scene last night and efforts were being made by the fire service to secure the tree and prevent further damage to the structure from wind and water.

It had been envisaged that the 100ft “Green Tree” would be the tallest Christmas tree in Ireland this year. It is green in the sense that it is made from recycled steel from major local building projects, including the redevelopment of Thomond Park and the Shannon Tunnel project.

Mayor of Limerick Cllr Kevin Kiely had said before the mishap: “All the main features of the city’s beautiful Christmas decorations are powered by low energy, low voltage bulbs, which represents a huge energy saving. This means there will be a 75 per cent saving on the running costs on the city’s bridges alone, where there are almost 4000 LED bulbs.”