Minutes of Proceedings
Date: 06 June 2013
Venue: Room 30, Parliament Buildings
The meeting began at 10.10am in public session.
Apologies are detailed above.
2. Chairperson's Business
Members considered a request to forward the response from the Committee for OFMDFM to the review of the Consumer Council.
Agreed: to forward the response to the Review Consultant, the Department and the Consumer Council.
Members considered a briefing paper from the Clerk regarding the areas covered by the Committee during the current session.
Phil Flanagan joined the meeting at 10.13am
3. Minutes of meeting held on Thursday 30 May 2013.
Agreed: The draft minutes of the meeting on 30 May were agreed.
4. Matters Arising
Members noted the response from the Department regarding the natural gas network extension projected target figures.
Agreed: to ask the Department to clarify if the figures provided are for properties within the network which can convert to gas or the wider population of the area.
Agreed: To ask the Department to provide the projected figures for conversion for social housing and the private rented sector.
Agreed: to ask DSD to provide a written briefing on the level of commitment to renewable energy for social housing and whether there are any targets in place for renewables in areas where gas cannot be made available.
Members considered the response from the Department regarding Portadown Diamond Credit Union.
Agreed: to ask the Department to provide detail of how the Department determined these lending procedures to be legal.
Agreed: to ask the Department to clarify why it took 3 years from the time attention was drawn to the issue for the FSA to be briefed on this matter.
Agreed: to ask the Department to provide information if the Department has in place a 'cause for concern' close monitoring arrangement with any other credit unions.
Paul Frew joined the meeting at 10.26am
Members noted the response from the Department regarding Tamboran Stage 2.
Agreed: to ask the Department to provide details of circumstances relating to good oil field practice/national interest under which the Department could potentially prevent Tamboran from moving to commercial drilling.
Agreed: to ask the Department to provide information on what weight environmental concerns would have in relation to good oil field practice.
Agreed: to ask the Department to clarify what the development programme is, the importance attached to it and what it contains.
Gordon Dunne left the meeting at 10.31am
Members noted a response from the Department regarding Petroleum Licence CHX.
Agreed: to ask the Department to identify what areas would be affected geographically.
Agreed: to ask the Department where the information came from that these areas are not suitable for fracking.
Agreed: to ask the Department to clarify if the licence is referring to conventional or non-conventional practice.
Agreed: to ask the Department if the decision on a licence will be referred to the Executive or will the Minister be content to make the decision.
Paul Frew left the meeting at 10.38am
Members noted a response from the Department regarding the disclosure of non-financial and diversity information by certain large companies and groups.
Members noted a news article regarding Airtricity pricing.
Members considered a request from the Pubs of Ulster and NIIRTA to meet with the Committee regarding the electricity price increase.
Agreed: to invite representatives of the Pubs of Ulster and NIIRTA to meet with the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson.
Members noted a response from the Department regarding seeking sight of the Presbyterian Mutual Society's Administrator's report.
Agreed: to receive an oral briefing from the Department.
Agreed: the Clerk to receive a copy of the report.
Paul Frew rejoined the meeting at 10.41am
Members noted an invitation from the Joint Committee on Transport and Communications to the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson to meet to discuss inadvertent mobile phone roaming charges.
Agreed: the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson to attend a meeting with the Joint Committee on Transport and Communications.
Sue Ramsey left the meeting at 10.44am
5. Electricity Prices: - Oral Briefing from Utility Regulator
Representatives joined the meeting at 10.43am
Members received an oral briefing from Mr. Shane Lynch, Utility Regulator and Mr. Kevin Shiels, Director of Retail and Social.
Key issues discussed included: recent price increases, security of supply and energy costs to businesses.
Sue Ramsey rejoined the meeting at 11.29am
Alban Maginness left the meeting at 12.10pm
Gordon Dunne rejoined the meeting at 12.16pm
Agreed: to receive from the Utility Regulator information on the next steps arising from the consultation.
Agreed: to receive an oral briefing from Airtricity and SSE on this issue.
Representatives left the meeting at 12.16pm
6. Electricity Prices:- Oral Briefing from Manufacturing NI
Representatives joined the meeting at 12.18pm
Members received an oral briefing from Bryan Gray, Chief Executive, Manufacturing Northern Ireland, Wilton Crawford, Managing Director, Michelin Tyres PLC, Conleth O'Neill, Financial Director, Harland and Wolff, Niall Irwin, Joint Managing Director, Irwin's Bakery, Cecil McBurney, Director Plant Engineering, Bombardier Aerospace.
Paul Frew joined the meeting 12.55pm
Key issues discussed included: energy costs for larger businesses, security of supply and the energy policy framework.
Representatives left the meeting at 1.20pm
7. June Monitoring Round: Written Briefing from DETI
Members considered the Department's January Monitoring Round.
Agreed: to receive from the Department an explanation to why the June monitoring round papers were delayed and to provide assurance this information will be provided in a timely manner in the future.
Agreed: to assess the timeliness of previous monitoring round papers.
8. Research Agenda Year 1 Summary and Year 2 Plans: Written Briefing from DETI
Members noted the Department's research agenda 2012-15.
Agreed: to receive regular updates on the research identified in the agenda.
9. Provisional Outturn 2012/13:Written Briefing from DETI
Members noted the provisional outturn and the Department's Budgetary Performance – 2012/13.
Maeve McLaughlin left the meeting at 1.27pm
Members noted the following items of correspondence for action
i. Members considered a response from the Committee for Employment and Learning regarding student places at University of Ulster Magee.
Agreed: to forward to the Londonderry Chamber of Commerce, the University of Ulster, Derry City Council, MLAs and MPs for Foyle.
ii. Members considered NI Vation information on its strategy to bring people back into areas of beauty in Northern Ireland.
Agreed: to ask NI Vation if they have made any contact with Invest NI regarding this issue.
Members noted the following invitations
iii. From the Legislating for Business from NI Assembly Legislative Strengthening Trust – Thursday 20 June 8.15am.
Agreed: members to contact the Committee Office if attending
iv. From the NI Assembly and Business Trust visit to the House of the Orieachtas 19-20 June.
Agreed: members to contact the Committee Office if attending.
v. From Queen's University on the G8 Conference Friday 14 June
Agreed: members to contact the Committee Office if attending.
Members noted the following items of correspondence
vi. From DETI to DHSSPS Committee regarding suicide prevention.
vii. From the Department regarding HSENI promotion of support for the stress of the construction workforce.
viii. From the Consumer Council regarding European Commission Investigation into alleged oil price manipulation.
ix. From the Bloody Sunday Trust to the Department regarding funding.
Agreed: to receive from the Department and NITB all correspondence in relation to this matter
11. Any other business
12. Date, time and place of next meeting
The next meeting of the Committee will take place on 13 June at 10.00am in Room 30 Parliament Building.
The Chair adjourned the meeting at 1.34pm