Irish pop band Westlife opens the Convention Centre, Dublin
by Annie Byrne
The Convention Centre, Dublin (The CCD) opened 7 September with a gala event for 700 international and local industry stakeholders featuring Irish pop band Westlife. Staged in the Liffy Suite, the attendee list included 120 international buyers, international and national press, and representatives from the broader meetings industry. The facility held a series of soft events pre-launch including taping of the TV show, The X Factor. The Irish Minister for Tourism, Culture and Sport, Mary Hanafin, officially opened Ireland’s first international convention centre by scanning her palm on an electronic entry keypad. "The CCD is the latest edition to the landscape of Dublin and is therefore the latest symbol of a proud and confident Ireland," Hanafin said. "We hope the centre will attract those who strive to improve the world through effective communication in conventions and we hope delegates will feel inspired by the Irish people. "We are not West Britain or East USA, we are a proud country and realise tourism generates over €4bn for the Irish economy annually. As we say: 'You are here to do business but stay to see the country'." Chairman of the venue, Dermond Dwyer, noted The CCD was a landmark state building. He added his team aimed to be the "best convention centre in Europe by 2014". According to figures from Taoiseach Brian Cowen and cited in The Irish Times, The CCD will give Ireland the chance to grab a share of the global conference market, estimated at €40 billion annually.