Minutes of Proceedings
Date: 15 March 2012
Venue: Northern Ireland Science Park, The Innovation Centre, Belfast, BT3 9DT
The meeting began at 10.40am in public session.
Apologies are detailed above.
2. Minutes of meeting held on 8 March 2012
Agreed: The draft minutes of the meeting on 8 March were agreed.
3. Chairperson’s Business
Members considered a request from the Consumer Council for Lord Whitty to brief the Chair on the key findings in his recently completed report on energy issues.
Agreed: Chair and Deputy Chair would meet with Lord Whitty
4. Matters Arising
Members considered a press release from Titanic Belfast which clarifies the position regarding the use of buggies in the Titanic Building.
Members discussed a request from DETI Innovation Policy Unit for copies of the written evidence provided to the Committee by QUB and UU to inform the Department’s oral briefing on the Inquiry.
Agreed: to forward the documents to the Department.
Members were updated on developments on meetings regarding Our Time Our Place.
5. Inquiry into Research and Development: Northern Ireland Science Park
Officials joined the meeting at 10.44am.
Members received an oral briefing from Dr Norman Apsley, Chief Executive Officer, NISP, Alan Watts, Director, Halo Business Angel Network and Frank Hewitt, Chairman, NISP.
Key issues discussed included the NISP Connect and Business Angel projects, opportunities for venture capital and relationships between NI and RoI and EU funding.
Gordon Dunne joined the meeting at 10.55am.
Stephen Moutray joined the meeting at 11.24am.
Paul Frew left the meeting at 11.57am.
Officials left the meeting at 12.07pm.
6. Electricity Market Reform, Common Arrangements for Gas and Smart Grid Pilot Project: Northern Ireland Authority for Utility Regulation
Officials joined the meeting at 12.10pm.
Members received an oral briefing from Shane Lynch, Utility Regulator and Tanya Wishart, Electricity Director.
Key issues discussed included Electricity Market Reform (EMR), Smart Grids and the Common Arrangements for Gas (CAG) project.
Paul Frew returned to the meeting at 12.14pm.
Sandra Overend joined the meeting at 12.26pm.
Daithí McKay left the meeting at 12.40pm.
Officials left the meeting at 1.19pm.
Members noted the following items of correspondence:
i. Correspondence from the OFMDFM Committee on the Abolition of DEL and the Transfer of Functions.
Agreed: to consider the item again at next week’s meeting.
ii. Correspondence from the OFMDFM Committee regarding subsidiarity concerns relating to proposals for an EU directive on Public Procurement.
Agreed: Committee to be kept updated on information on the issue.
iii. Correspondence from the Committee for Finance and Personnel on:
a) The Performance and Efficiency Delivery Unit
b) Linking Budgets to Outcomes
iv. Letter to the Chair from Phoenix Gas regarding the acquisition of Firmus.
Agreed: for the Chair and the Deputy Chair to meet with Phoenix Gas.
v. Invitation from the North East Storage Project to the main drilling site for the natural gas storage project.
vi. Correspondence from the Environment Committee on Scrutiny of the Marine Bill.
Agreed: to forward to the Department for a response.
vii. Correspondence from the Committee for Social Development regarding the Green New Deal.
viii. Invitation to the Committee to visit the NI Advance Composites and Engineering Centre (NIACE).
Agreed: to schedule the visit into the future Forward Work Programme.
ix. Invitation to the Committee from NITB to the Titanic Light Show on 7 April 2012.
8. Any other business
Members considered correspondence concerning the proposals to move the printing of the Belfast Telegraph to Newry.
Agreed: to ask the Department for clarification on issues relating to the receipt of public money by the company.
9. Date, time and place of next meeting
Agreed: to start next week’s meeting at 10am
Agreed: to receive meeting papers for next week on Tuesday.
The next meeting of the Committee will take place on Thursday 22 March at 10.00am, Room 30, Parliament Buildings.
The Chair adjourned the meeting at 1.25pm.