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25 November 2009



Doagh Christmas Tree Lights were switched on today from a "remote" location. Just before the ceremony was scheduled to begin a decision was made to move the proceedings indoors to the Assembly Hall of Doagh Primary School. This was done to protect the audience and officials from the cold, blustery November weather.

The ceremony started with a short service conducted by local clergy and this was followed by a medley of Christmas songs and carols sung by the school choir.

The Deputy Mayor, Alderman P Bradley, ably assisted by three pupils pushed down the "Remote Plunger" which magically illuminated the Christmas Tree Lights in the square beside the Post Office.

Proceedings ended with the arrival of Santa Claus to the enthusiastic strains of "Jingle Bells". Each child attending received a gift from the popular figure.

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22 November 2009

Concert by Emma Gibbins


Following our concert at St Bride's on November 7, Melanie Johnston's accompanist, Dr. Emma Gibbins gave an organ recital in St George's Parish Church in Belfast on Saturday, 21 November.
Emma is currently the Director of Music at St George's, which has a long tradition of choral excellence. The purpose of her concert was to begin a fund raising campaign to allow St George's to continue this tradition.
"Singing with the choir at St George's provides boys between the ages of 7 and 14 with a unique opportunity to develop their musical skills. As trebles, the boys receive a first rate musical training for free, learn to work together as a team and Develop Their self confidence in a fun and disciplined environment. St George's welcomes any boy who enjoys singing and is willing to try their best ... ... ... ...
Many boys go on to the men's section of the choir once their voices have broken, and we believe that the love of music that started at St George's will be with them for the rest of their lives. "

Emma gave an enchanting performance which demonstrated the wonderful versatility of the instrument. She played nine pieces ranging from works composed by Georg Boehn and JS Bach in the 16th and 17th Centuries to modern day contemporary composers such as Zsolt Gárdonyi and Hans Martin Kiefer who are still living and working today.

Attached is a podcast of part of her opening piece by Boehn, Praeludium in C


20 November 2009

Officers of the Rivers Agency attend a meeting in the Torrens Hall

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Dr. William McCrea arranged for two officers from the Rivers Agency to address residents of Doagh regarding any progress made recently in their efforts to Ensure that further flood damage, similar to that Suffered by many householders during the spate of heavy rain in 2008, could be avoided in the future. The River Agency officers, pictured above were: Mr Pat Aldridge Center, and Left, Development Director - Mr Stephen Dawson, Business Unit Manager for the Capital Procurement Unit.

This meeting was the continuation of a process begun just after the damage done by the floods Became all too apparent. Since then the River Agency has been compiling a lengthy report into all aspects of the causes of the flooding and the ongoing and necessary remedial actions Which should be taken if similar occurrences are to be avoided in the future.
The meeting enabled a full and frank exchange of views, explanation of current policies and reflections on work already undertaken. Also discussed were the frustrations felt by many whose property Whose Had been damaged and the actions needed to be taken in the short and longer term future.

It became evident that many obstacles stood in the way of Achieving a full and permanent solution to the problems, not least of which centered around the avability of necessary resources and staff required to Provide the solutions. At present the River Agency Had not been given sufficient access to resources. Other problems occurred Because the Doagh River itself Had never been "designated" and so any work or repairs done on it Remained the responsibility of the land owners through Whose land the river runs, and indeed the occupiers of properties on land adjacent to the river who at present have the same responsibility.
It was explained to the meeting that much of the major work would not be completed until around 2012 or 2013. It was also made clear that other agencies such as Roads NI Environment Agency and the Angling Club (who presently own the fishing rights to the river) should be consulted with and collaborate in the final work plan.

Hubert Nicholl MLA, Vice-Chair of the Drainage Council, informed the meeting that the Rivers Agency should request of the Drainage Council that the river be finally designated, Thus Allowing many of the key players to play a more proactive role in solving the flooding problem Which at present they were unable to do. This process of "designation, if approved, would go ahead without any undue delay.

Ald. Paul Girvan raised several other local flooding issues which also required urgent action. Many of these were also discussed at length and all contributed to an inter-connected scenario Which should be addressed if the potential flooding problem were to be properly addressed.
It was apparent that most residents affected by the risk of future flooding were keen for all authorities concerned to Ensure that full consultation take place prior to final plans being drawn up. Mr Dawson informed the meeting that the current research papers would soon be published and Mr Aldridge added that a non-technical summary would be made available To those who required it. Several residents expressed that they would be interested in Examining the document to be satisfied that all possible causes and effects Had been explored.

Mr Aldridge felt that the necessary maintenance work essential to Improve the free flow of the river, away from affected properties, would not in itself be an expensive process. However much of the other work required would be dependent on the release of monies necessary to allow the it to be done satisfactorily.

All of the discussion Which took place during the meeting reflected the strength of local feeling on the matter. The management of Chain Reaction Cycles Had offered to carry out some essential annual maintenance work free of charge to make sure that there was no build up of water in that area in times of heavy rain. They had already completed some remedial work following the 2008 floods. One resident pointed out however that this may result in the problem Merely being shifted to Brook Meadows where there was already a significant problem during periods of heavy rain.

Dr McCrea wound up proceedings by re-stating the main points covered and listing the current proposals designed to Provide effective solutions. He Thanked everyone for attending the meeting, Which he felt was positive and productive and Residents were assured that they would be kept informed of any future developments.

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