Rotarians throughout Ireland met in Belfast Saturday 28 January 2012 to celebrate the Centenary of Rotary in Ireland with a District Council Meeting followed by a special dinner in the Long Gallery, Parliament Buildings attended by Rotarians from all over Ireland, their partners and friends. The dinner was kindly hosted, on behalf of the Club, by Michelle McIlveen MLA.
On arrival at Parliament Buildings 100 Rotarians, partners and guests were treated to conducted tours of the Senate and Assembly Chamber and a reception in the Italian marble Great Hall before proceeding up the Grand Staircase to the Long Gallery for dinner.
DG Barney Cavanagh opening the evening welcomed all and stated that he had wanted to hold the Council meeting in Belfast as an honour to the Belfast Club. Having attended their Centenary Re-enactment Meeting he had been touched to see present the 3rd generation of founder members and a long service member and he asked all Rotarians to build the foundations for the next 100 years celebrations.
President Adrian Kerr introduced host Michelle McIlveen MLA presenting her with a copy of the Club's Centenary Book outlining the work of the Club over the 100 years. Officially welcoming everyone to Parliament Buildings and Belfast, she stated that she was honoured to sponsor the evening and delighted that District had chosen Parliament Buildings in this important Centenary year for Rotary in Ireland. Congratulating all Rotarians, being conscious of the good work Rotary does at home and abroad, she stated that she was in awe of their so readily giving up their time and making a difference. She particularly congratulated the Belfast Club on their legendary work and their Centenary. She hoped everyone would return to Belfast to see all going on in the City and visit, in particular, the Titanic Signature Project building due to open soon.
A keynote address was given by Club Rotarian PP Professor Michael Smyth (Head of the School of Economics UU); a member of the European Economic and Social Committee, he is one of Northern Ireland's foremost economic commentators and specializes in economic development and European-related issues. He gave a frequently humorous commentary with "Some reflections on the state we are in..." Considering the dominance of the Eurozone crisis and the dangers to the UK, European, BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) and US economies if not resolved, he indicated solutions and reflected on implications for the UK, the Republic and Northern Ireland. He also highlighted prospects for the NI and Irish economies.
Closing the evening District Governor Barney Callaghan thanked the Belfast Club for the wonderful evening featuring a unique gathering, location and people and wished all a safe journey home.