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Newry Musical Feis 2016 has been officially opened by Cllr Mickey Ruane, Chairperson, Newry, Mourne and Down District Council.

The weekend saw the Irish Dance Open competitions take place in Newry Town Hall with Part 2 taking place from the 5th of April.

Sheila Nolan, Section Secretary for Irish Dance introduced Cllr Ruane; Alma Brown, Feis President; and Marie Graham, recently elected Feis Chairperson.  Mrs Graham welcomed the Irish Dance (Open) adjudicator Noeleen Bresnan O’Neill (Waterford), the young performers, their parents and family members.  Mrs Graham added that this was the first of 41 days of competition and performance and noted that thanks must be extended to the large team who work tirelessly, giving of their time freely, as Committee members and support volunteers.  She reminded the audience that many people had worked very hard to keep the Feis running since its formation in 1928 and encouraged them to consider becoming involved in the organisation of the event in the future.

Newry Musical Feis Medals.
Newry Musical Feis Medals.

Mrs Graham extended special thanks to the Irish Dance (Open) Section organisers Sheila Nolan and Maria Moan for their hard work and dedication and said how honoured the Feis Committee was to have Mr Ruane present to conduct the official opening; she knew that it was a particularly noteworthy event for him since he would be the very first Chairperson of the new Newry, Mourne and Down Council to perform the task.  She then called on the Council Chairperson to perform the official opening. 

Cllr Ruane welcomed everyone to Newry Town Hall and expressed the hope that they would enjoy taking part.  He reminded them that performance was a very important part of personal development by helping to foster self-confidence and the ability to socialise. Officially opening the 88th Newry Musical Feis Mr Ruane spoke of the work of the Feis and the importance of such an event in the lives of the performers; he concluded by referring to how the Feis, providing a platform for more than 14,000 performances annually, was the biggest event of its kind in Europe.

Feis President, Alma Brown, who has been actively involved in the work of the Feis Committee for over 55 years, thanked Mr Ruane for making himself available to be part of this special event and echoed his hope that all performers would thoroughly enjoy taking part.

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