The O’Neill Centre in Belfast became a property of the Order in 1986, being owned by Columbanus Enterprises Ltd. on behalf of Provincial Area 2, after meetings were held in various locations throughout Belfast before and during the Troubles.
One such old haunt was the old Slemish House, situated above McGovern’s Bar at the corner of Smithfield Square and West Street. Many meetings were held here, but such were the times that the premises had the misfortune of first a minor fire, and subsequently a bomb in the bar in the early seventies destroyed the premises beyond repair
Meetings took place in Slemish House in the region of 1972/73, and then in 1974, Provincial Council meetings took place in the International Hotel at the back of the City Hall when Slemish House ended up as rubble.
In 1976 meetings moved around the city, taking place in various locations, such as the Catholic Chaplaincy in Elmwood Avenue. From there they moved on to the Good Shepherd Convent on the Ormeau Road.
From 1981 to 1984, Brother Sean McCabe was PGK, Gerry McCreesh his deputy, along with other Provincial Executive members, scoured the City looking for new premises but failed to find anything suitable.
Brother Gerry McCreesh became Provincial Grand Knight from 1984 to 1987, and assisted by his deputy Des Doherty the search continued. During this time, Brother Stephen McKearney who was also helping Brothers Gerry and Des to find a suitable venue, discovered the present premises, which was known as the Belfast Co-operative Sports and Recreation Club.
The premises were purchased in 1986 and subsequently became known as the O’Neill Centre. The premises currently contain many meeting rooms where both Primary, Provincial and Northern Area Committee meetings take place. Parts of the premises were recently refurbished and a beautiful Oratory was constructed within the building. This project was spearheaded by Brother Charlie Clarke, PGK of Area 2 from 2017 to 2020, The new Oratory is shown in the accompanying pictures.