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Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 12 January 2012

Venue: Room 30, Parliament Buildings

The meeting began at 10.35am in public session.

1. Apologies

Apologies are detailed above.

2. Minutes of meeting held on 15 December 2011

Agreed:  The draft minutes of the meeting on 15 December were agreed.

3. Chairperson’s Business

Members noted a letter from Queens University Belfast requesting an interview with the Chair for a research project for the delivery of renewable energy under devolution.

Members noted a request from the NI Government Affairs Group to the Chair to address the Group’s members in a meeting on issues to relating to the ETI Committee.

Members noted an invitation to the Chair from NITB to the launch of Northern Ireland tourism events for 2012.

4. Matters Arising

Members noted a letter from the Utility Regulator regarding the Common Arrangements for Gas (CAG) project.

5. Tourism Ireland

Tourism Ireland officials joined the meeting at 10.39am.

Members received an oral briefing from Niall Gibbons, Chief Executive, Brian Ambrose, Chairman, Shane Clarke, Director of Corporate Services and Policy and Aubrey Irwin, Head of Northern Ireland and Produce, Tourism Ireland.  Key issues discussed included the tourism visitor numbers in 2011 for Northern Ireland, challenges for attracting out of state visitors to the island and expectations for tourism this year.

Alasdair McDonnell joined the meeting at 11.00am.

Gordon Dunne left the meeting at 11.45am.

Agreed: Tourism Ireland officials to confirm whether the organisation will have a presence at the US Open in San Francisco in June 2012. 

Tourism Ireland officials left the meeting at 11.45am.

Alasdair McDonnell left the meeting at 11.45am.

Members agreed to consider agenda item 7 next. 

6. Subordinate Legislation

The Committee considered the following subordinate legislation:

SR 2011/427 Employers Liability (Compulsory Insurance) (Amendment) Regulations Northern Ireland 2011

Agreed: That the Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment has considered SR 2011/427 Employers Liability (Compulsory Insurance) (Amendment) Regulations Northern Ireland 2011 and, subject to the Examiner of Statutory Rules’ report, has no objection to the rule.

Members agreed to return to agenda item 6. 

7.  January Monitoring Round: 2nd Stage

DETI and Invest NI officials joined the meeting at 11.47am.

Members received an oral briefing from Trevor Cooper, Finance Division, Bernie Brankin, Head of Finance Branch, DETI and Mel Chittock, Managing Director, Corporate Services, Invest NI.  Key issues discussed included the reasons for DETI’s reduced requirements in the monitoring period, current worldwide and Northern Ireland economic climates and the impact on Invest NI capital investment projects. 

Stephen Moutray joined the meeting at 11.54am. 

Alasdair McDonnell returned to the meeting at 11.55am.

Alasdair McDonnell left the meeting at 12.28pm.

Stephen Agnew left the meeting at 12.30pm.

Agreed: To receive information on how much of the Jobs Fund has been spent to date and the number of jobs that it has created. 

Agreed: To ask that the Committee be informed if/when the £5.6m reduced requirement under “Invest NI- Capital projects with risks” can be used by Invest NI.   

DETI and Invest NI officials left the meeting at 12.50pm.

8. Draft NI Economic Strategy: Draft Comprehensive Action Plan

Members discussed the written briefing.

Agreed: Members agreed to await responses to the documents and consider the issue again at the meeting of 9 February.

9. Agri Food: A Study for Cross-Border Co-Operation

Members discussed the written briefing.

Agreed: To invite IntertradeIreland officials to provide an oral briefing to the Committee on the study.

Agreed:  To consider inviting other organisations in the agri-food sector to provide oral briefings to the Committee.

10. Draft Forward Work Programme

Agreed: To schedule meetings and visits to NI Science Park, South Eastern Regional College (SERC) and Almac.

Agreed: To discuss the Inquiry into Research and Development in closed session at next week’s meeting.

11. Correspondence

Members noted the following items of correspondence:

i. A letter to the Chair from the Chair of the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Jobs, Special Protection and Education.

Agreed: To schedule an informal meeting with the Oireachtas Joint Committee in the Spring.

ii. Responses from the Department on Committee queries regarding:

  • Retained HR functions in DETI


  • NITB Masterclass event


Agreed: To forward this to the GAA, the original inquirer.

  • Responses from DETI and the Utility Regulator on Voltage optimization


Agreed: To forward the responses to Energy Saver NI.

iii. Correspondence from DETI regarding Remote Broadband Service Contract.

iv. Correspondence to the Culture, Arts and Leisure Committee from DETI regarding the Creative Industries.

Agreed: To forward the information to the Culture, Arts and Leisure Committee.

v. Response from DETI to the Committee for the Environment, copied to this Committee, on the North/South Interconnector. 

vi. Correspondence from the NI Oil Federation regarding the Consumer Council’s draft Customer Charter.

vii. Correspondence from Phoenix Gas regarding extending the Natural Gas Network in NI.

viii. Correspondence from a member of the public regarding pricing in district heating systems.

Agreed: To forward to the correspondence to the Department and Utility Regulator for comment.

ix. Invitation to members from the All Party Group on Co-operatives and Mutuals to a reception in the Members Dining Room at 1pm following this meeting.

x. Invitation to members from the NI Assembly and Business Trust to a business breakfast with the Confucius Institute on Tuesday, 17 January.

xi. Invitation from Semta to members to the launch of Semta NI at Thales Air Defence in Belfast on Tuesday, 24 January.

12. Any other business

Members raised the issue of existing protocol in relation to publicly discussing information that the Committee receives.

Agreed:  Chair to raise the issue at the Chairperson’s Liaison Group (CLG) meeting. 

13. Date, time and place of next meeting 

The next meeting of the Committee will take place on Thursday 19 January at 10.30am, Room 30, Parliament Buildings. 

The Chair adjourned the meeting at 1.00pm.

Mr Alban Maginness
Committee for Enterprise, Trade and Investment
19 January 2012

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