The country’s largest local authority spent €144,504 on Christmas trees last December.
The spend by Dublin City Council includes €36,908 on the installation, removal and storage of one tree at Smithfield.
Figures provided by the council confirm it spent €107,700 on the purchase of Christmas trees and other material associated with their set-up at locations across the city.
A council spokeswoman said this involved the purchase of 41 large trees located in the city centre, urban centres and villages which range in height from 30ft to 45ft. It also involves the purchase of 60 smaller trees at eight to 10 feet in height that are purchased for civic buildings, libraries and leisure centres, and the purchase of the tree in O’Connell Street.
In 2008, the council paid its one-third – €100,000 – share for the purchase of the €300,000 Led tree in Smithfield in an initiative that was co-funded by the Dublin City Business Improvement District and the Dublin City Business Association.
The tree – designed by the French firm Blachere, which has also created the lighting for the Eiffel Tower – was originally on O’Connell Street before being moved to Smithfield.
According to the council, it paid €36,809 last December to private firm 2B Light Company in relation to this tree, including €26,961 for the installation and removal of the 18 metre, five-ton, eco-friendly tree illuminated by 100,000 bulbs. In addition, the firm was paid €5,500 for the storage of the tree while the total includes a 13.5 per cent VAT component of €4,378.
Lord Mayor Críona Ní Dhálaigh (SF) said yesterday the council’s spend on natural trees “is justified because of the Christmas cheer the trees bring and the community spirit they create, but I would have concerns over the ongoing costs associated with the Led Christmas tree at Smithfield.”