Minutes of Proceedings
Date: 02 February 2012
Venue: Room 30
The meeting began at 10.35am in public session.
Apologies are detailed above.
2. Minutes of meeting held on 26 January 2012
Agreed: The draft minutes of the meeting on 26 January were agreed.
3. Chairperson’s Business
Members considered a request from the Irish Congress of Trade Union to the Chair to sponsor an event to mark International Workers Day on the 26 April 2012 in the Long Gallery.
Agreed: Chair to sponsor the event.
Members discussed the Presbyterian Mutual Society (PMS) issue.
Agreed: To consider the PMS in closed session as a substantive item on the agenda at next week’s meeting.
4. Matters Arising
Members noted the Department will not be in a position to brief on the 8 March on the Common Arrangements for Gas (CAG).
Members noted a press article and correspondence from the Minister regarding infraction proceedings from the European Commission relating to the gas industry on the island.
Agreed: To await a suitable time during which officials will be able to brief the Committee on the CAG project and progress on the legislative requirements.
Agreed: To obtain information on the latest date that the arrangements can be in place in order to avoid the possibility of a fine being imposed and how soon the legislation is expected to come into effect.
Agreed: To address this issue with the Utility Regulator during his briefing to the Committee on Electricity Market Reform (EMR).
Agreed: To write to the transmission system operators (Phoenix Gas and Firmus Energy) for their views and comments on the issue.
Members noted the Minister’s response to the request for a contact list of leading agri-food companies.
Agreed: To invite the NI Food and Drink Association (NIFDA) to provide an oral briefing on the agri-food report.
Members considered the Green New Deal’s response to the draft Programme for Government.
Agreed: To forward the response to the OFMDFM Committee as part of the response by the Committee to the draft Programme for Government.
Agreed: To obtain more information from the Department on the issue in the Green New Deal’s briefing paper.
Agreed: To receive more detail and a progress report from the Inter-Departmental Working Group (IDWG) on Green New Deal.
Members noted the Department’s response to a Committee query regarding the January monitoring round.
5. Smart Grid Ireland: Oral Briefing
Officials joined the meeting at 10.48 am.
Members received an oral briefing from Paddy Turnbull, Chairman, Smart Grid Ireland and Strategy Leader, GE Energy Europe, Robin McCormack, General Manager, SONI, David Mannigan, Director of Corporate Affairs, SSE Renewables Ireland. Key issue discussed was the establishment of a smart grid pilot project for 3,000 domestic customers to test its assumptions and provide learning in relation to technologies, integration, deployment and utilisation of assets.
Paul Frew joined the meeting at 10.50am.
Gordon Dunne joined the meeting at 10.50am.
Stephen Moutray left the meeting at 11.20am.
Paul Frew left the meeting at 12.09pm.
Officials left the meeting at 12.09am.
Agreed: To write to the Utility Regulator to outline the Committee’s support of the project.
6. Assembly Research: Inquiry into Research and Development
Members received a research briefing from Assembly Research regarding papers for the Committee’s Inquiry into Research and Development.
Paul Frew returned to the meeting at 12.14pm
Steven Agnew left the meeting at 12.20pm
Agreed: Content for Assembly Research to include more information pertaining to a research and development case study from an aeronautical company Holland.
7. Regulation of Credit Unions in Northern Ireland: Written briefing
Members considered the written briefing
Agreed: To write to the HM Treasury (and copy to the Secretary of State) regarding the concerns raised by the Ulster Federation of Credit Unions (UFCU), the Irish League of Credit Unions (ILCU) and various credit unions.
Agreed: To write to the Minister in relation to financial assistance to credit unions in training and transitional support.
Agreed: Clerk to draft a letter that members can issue to credit unions which write to the Committee with their concerns.
Members noted the following items of correspondence:
i. Letter from the Minister to Phil Flanaghan MLA regarding technical trials carried out prior to the award of a remote broadband services contract.
ii. Departmental response to questions raised during the briefing from Invest NI in December.
Agreed: To receive information on the breakdown of those businesses delivered directly by Invest NI and those businesses delivered directly by Enterprise NI through the Go-for-It Programme.
iii. Correspondence from the Regional Development Committee regarding connectivity between transport hubs.
Agreed: To forward to the Minister
iv. Correspondence from the Employment and Learning Committee requesting an extension to the deadline in response to the consultation on the draft economic strategy action plan.
v. Correspondence from the Public Accounts Committee in relation to information on the health service costs to the Compensation Recovery Unit.
9. Any other business
There were no other items of business.
10. Date, time and place of next meeting
The next meeting of the Committee will take place on Thursday 9 February at 10.30am, Senate Chamber, Parliament Buildings.
The Chair adjourned the meeting at 12.35pm.