The Northern Ireland Assembly has been dissolved. The election will take place on Thursday 5 May 2016.

Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2011/2012

Date: 19 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 12 January 2012

Agreed:  The draft minutes of the meeting on 12 January were agreed.

3.  Chairperson’s Business

Members noted a letter from Invest NI regarding the Export Skills and Knowledge Workshops Programme Spring 2012.

Members noted a request for a meeting with the Chair from Copius International regarding partnering with Northern Ireland colleges to deliver deep sea certification for employment purposes.

4. Matters Arising

Members noted a letter from the Committee for Agriculture and Rural Development on the DARD draft Business Plan.

Agreed: Clerk to draft a response for consideration at next week’s meeting.

Members discussed InterTradeIreland’s report on the Agri-Food Sector.

Agreed: To invite InterTradeIreland representatives to provide an oral briefing on the report at the meeting on 9 February.

Agreed: To invite members of the Agriculture Committee to attend this meeting as the issue will be of considerable interest to them.

Members noted a response from the Department regarding a Committee query on a local heating system.

Agreed: To await a response from the Utility Regulator before referring the information to the original inquirer.

Members noted the Eleventh Report of the Examiner of Statutory Rules which had no comments by way of technical scrutiny on SR 2011/427 Employers Liability (Compulsory Insurance) (Amendment) Regulations Northern Ireland 2011.

Members noted a letter from the Minister to the Chair regarding last week’s briefing on January Monitoring Round.

Agreed: Chair to respond to the letter.

5. Strategic Energy Framework (SEF) Implementation Plan Update

 Members discussed the written briefing.

Agreed: To request the detailed implementation plan for the years 2012-2015 to ensure that Northern Ireland is compliant with EU electricity model by 2016.

Agreed: To schedule an oral briefing on the Renewable Heat Incentive and to also request an update and progress report for the gas extension project. 

Agreed: To receive oral evidence from Smart Grid Ireland on proposals for a Smart Grid pilot scheme for Northern Ireland at the meeting on 2 February.

6. Correspondence

Members noted the following items of correspondence:

i.  Correspondence from the Minister to the Chair regarding credit union legislation.

ii. Response from DETI on Post Project Evaluations (PPEs).

iii. Correspondence from the Committee for Environment on Renewable Fuel Targets.

Agreed: To forward to the Department for a direct response to the Committee for Environment, copied to this Committee.

iv. Request from Citizens Advice to receive a copy of the Department’s response to Insolvency legislation and the Committee’s proposal for instalment payments.

Agreed: To provide the papers to Citizens Advice.

v. Query from member of the public regarding the Renewable Heat Incentive.

Agreed: To forward the query to the Department for a direct response to the inquirer.

vi. Invitation from Friends of the Earth to a Long Gallery Event on 31 January 2012.

vii. Correspondence from the Environment Committee regarding the draft Programme for Government and the Green New Deal.

Agreed: To forward to the Department for response.

viii. Correspondence from the Social Development Committee regarding progress on the Green New Deal.

Agreed: To forward to the Environment Committee for information.

7.  Any other business

Members discussed a possible Committee visit to the company, Linn Products Ltd., in Glasgow.

8.  Date, time and place of next meeting 

The next meeting of the Committee will take place on Thursday 26 January at 10.30am, Room 30, Parliament Buildings.

9.  Inquiry into Research and Development

The meeting moved into closed session at 10.53am.

Members discussed the Inquiry in Research and Development.

Agreed: To ask the Department for details of the organisations which account for R&D activity in Northern Ireland and invite them to provide written evidence to the Inquiry.

Agreed: To contact the Sector Skills Council for Science, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies SEMTA and ask them to provide evidence to the Inquiry.

Agreed: To contact the businesses already invited to provide evidence by telephone to encourage them to avail of the opportunity to provide written evidence to the Inquiry.

Agreed: To ask the Federation of Small Business and Enterprise NI to ask their members to provide evidence to the Inquiry.

Agreed: To request details of the companies referred to by the local Councils in their submissions and ask them to provide evidence.

Agreed: To contact South Eastern Regional College (SERC) and the University of Ulster to encourage them to give evidence to the Inquiry.

Agreed: To ask the following organisations to provide oral evidence to the Committee:

  • Aerospace Defence Security
  • Almac
  • Confederation of British Industry
  • South East Regional College
  • Belfast Metropolitan College
  • Queen’s University Belfast
  • University of Ulster
  • Northern Ireland Science Park
  • InterTradeIreland
  • Invest NI
  • DETI

Agreed: To schedule the Department to provide separate oral briefings on 29 March for both the draft action plan for R&D, Innovation and Creativity and the Inquiry.

Agreed: To provide InterTradeIreland, Invest NI and DETI with details of emerging issues before they give evidence.

Agreed: Rapporteur to undertake interviews with the following organisations and to report back to the Committee:

  • Asidua Ltd
  • Cirdan Imaging Ltd
  • EU Commission in Belfast
  • Belfast City Council
  • Agri Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI)
  • Centre for Competitiveness


Agreed: To schedule further evidence sessions when remaining organisations provide written evidence to the Inquiry.

The Chair adjourned the meeting at 11.15pm.

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

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