Belfast Telegraph

Paul O'Connell will be first guest speaker in new Waterfront Hall extension

By Laura Abernethy

Rugby hero Paul O’Connell will be the first guest speaker at the newly extended Waterfront Hall

The former Ireland captain announced his retirement from the sport last week.

The British and Irish Lion had suffered a hamstring injury during the World Cup last year and said it had forced him to give up the sport.

He will speak at a ‘Champions Dinner’ in front of 700 guests in the new state-of-the-art facility.

The gala dinner, run by the NI Chamber of Commerce and Trade, will take place on 4 May 2016.

It will be the first event in the Waterfront Conference and Exhibition centre, which provoked controversy last year when it was dubbed “the sore on the shore” because of its appearance from the outside.

Building work was completed on the inside of the £29.5m development last month and has already attracted over 30 bookings from national and international events including the BBC Good Food Show and the World Credit Union for later this year and the Royal College of Nursing for 2018.

The extension added over 5,000m2 of space, including two halls and flexible meeting spaces, to the existing entertainment venue, which was opened over 20 years ago.

The first major conference takes place on May 11 when around 2,000 medical specialists will descend on Belfast for the annual International Surgical Congress of the Association of Surgeons of Great Britain and Ireland (ASGBI).

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