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"Disastrous" Meeting at Armagh Observatory

Members of AVEC, the Armagh Visitor Education Committee, recently joined forces for a Disaster Planning and Prevention workshop at the Armagh Observatory on 28 September 2005. The meeting was called in response to growing concern that all public bodies should have in place a suitable disaster response plan. In this case the partner bodies within AVEC were focusing particularly on the individual specialist requirements of the small public bodies of Armagh, each of which have items of significant historical interest within their libraries, archives and museum collections.

The City of Armagh is unique in Northern Ireland in containing not just an exceptionally large number of historic and listed buildings, but also a wide range of specialist and world-class libraries and archives. It was appropriate that the workshop was led by an old Armachian, Mr Brendan Campbell, from the Belfast-based Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI), and that it was attended by representatives from all the principal libraries, archives and specialist historical collections of the City, including the Armagh City Library, the Armagh County Museum, the Armagh Public Library, the Cardinal Tomás Ó Fiaich Memorial Library and Archive, the Irish and Local Studies Library, and the Royal Irish Fusiliers Museum, as well as the Armagh Observatory and the Armagh Planetarium. Whereas staff at the Observatory are used to assessing the global threat posed by impacts of comets and asteroids on the Earth, modern disaster planning focuses quite literally on the mundane: events much closer to home, such as theft, fire, flood or storm. In trying to anticipate these natural and man-made disasters, their various effects and the most appropriate response in each case, the workshop covered the five principal areas of disaster planning, namely: Prevention; Preparedness; Reaction; Recovery; and Salvage. The meeting was one of several joint events organized by AVEC in recent years, and provided a useful learning experience for all those involved and a step towards reducing the risk for the City of Armagh of the loss of some of its most valuable cultural assets.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION CONTACT: Catherine McCullough (Chair, AVEC) at the Armagh County Museum (Tel: 028-3752-3070; e-mail: catherine.mcculloughmagni.org.uk) or John McFarland at the Armagh Observatory, Tel.: 028-3752-2928; e-mail: jmfarm.ac.uk.

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Last Revised: 2005 September 29th
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