Minutes of Proceedings

Session: 2012/2013

Date: 31 January 2013

Venue: Room 30, Parliament Buildings

The meeting began at 10.12am in public session.

1. Apologies

There were no apologies.

2. Chairperson’s Business

Members considered a press release from the European Commission regarding Horizon 2020 calling for experts to shape the agenda.

Agreed: to forward the press release to those who gave evidence to the Committee’s Research and Development Inquiry.

Agreed: to forward the press release to determine if the Department intends to encourage and support any individuals or organisations from Northern Ireland to apply.

Members noted a schedule of events during the term of the Irish Presidency of the Council of the EU which may be relevant to the work of the Committee.

Agreed: to seek further information on an SME conference in June.

Members noted a request from the Northern Ireland Chamber of Commerce for the Chairperson to provide 100 words of editorial on kick-starting an exporting culture within the Northern Ireland Business Community.

Agreed: the Committee agreed a draft editorial.

Members noted that the Committee will host an event on the regulation of Payday Lending on Tuesday 5 February 2013.

3. Minutes of the meeting held on Thursday 24 January 2013

Members considered the draft minutes of the 24 January 2013.

Minutes were agreed.

4. Matters Arising

Members noted a response from the Department regarding a Committee query on the work carried out using UK Guarantees on energy and broadband.

Members noted a response from the Department for Health, Social Services and Public Safety regarding the Small Business Research Initiative

Members noted a response from the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister which relates to the Small Business Research Initiative.

Agreed: to receive a progress report from all departments in September on any further actions taken regarding the Small Business Research Initiative.

Members noted a response from Committee for the Office of the First Minister and deputy First Minister regarding the Strategic Investment Board Portal.

Members considered responses from the Department and from Invest NI regarding the City of Culture 2013.

Paul Frew entered the meeting at 10.17am

Agreed: to forward the responses to Derry City Council.

Members noted a response from the Department regarding the Strategy and Plan for Energy 2050.

Agreed: to defer consideration of this response to the next meeting.

Members noted a response from the Department regarding the Barroso

Taskforce Working Group.

Members noted a response from the Department clarifying the £18.2m bid in respect of the Titanic Signature Project.

Members considered the update from the Department on the EU Commission referral of the UK to the EU Court of Justice for failure to transpose relevant EU directives on common rules for the internal markets in electricity and natural gas.

Agreed: to ask the Department for details of the proportion of the costs which would be borne by the Executive if there were to be an affirmative judgement.

Members noted a response from the Department regarding Enterprise Zones.

Members considered a slight amendment to the Committee’s report on the 2nd Legislative Consent Memorandum regarding the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill.

Agreed: the Committee agreed the report as amended.

Members noted the response from Invest NI on figures for private investment.

Sandra Overend joined the meeting at 10.21am

5. Moyle Interconnector: - Oral Briefing from Mutual Energy

Representatives joined the meeting at 10.20am

Sue Ramsey joined the meeting at 10.22am

Members received an oral briefing from Mr Paddy Larkin, Chief Executive, Mutual Energy and Mr Gerard McIlroy, Finance Director, Mutual Energy.

Key issues discussed included: the positive and negative features of the Moyle Electricity Interconnector and the proposals to develop the Islandmagee gas storage project.

Stephen Moutray joined the meeting at 10.29am

Patsy McGlone joined the meeting at 10.54am and took the Chair

Sue Ramsey left the meeting at 11.41am

Sandra Overend left the meeting at 12.15pm

6. Tourism Statistics:- Oral briefing from Tourism Policy Branch, DETI.

Representatives joined the meeting at 12.15pm

Members received an oral briefing from Ms Loraine Fleming. Principal, Tourism Policy Branch. Mr James Gillan, Senior Principal Statistician, NISRA. Ms Lara McCorry, Director of Corporate Development, Northern Ireland Tourist Board.

Key issues discussed included: the problems regarding the collation of tourism statistics and the process of analysing statistics.

Agreed: to receive a response from the Department regarding a reduction in the number of hotel rooms.

Agreed: to receive information from the Northern Ireland Statistics and Research Agency regarding statistics relating to Cruise Lines and Coach Numbers in Northern Ireland.

Stephen Moutray left the meeting at 12.50pm

Sue Ramsey returned to the meeting at 1.02pm

Patsy McGlone vacated the Chair at 1.03pm

The Clerk took the Chair at 1.03pm

The Clerk called for nominations for the position of a temporary Chairperson. Ms Sue Ramsey proposed that: Mr Alban Maginness be temporary Chairperson of the Committee. Mr Paul Frew seconded this and the nomination was accepted.

On there being no further nominations the Clerk put the question without debate.

Agreed: The Committee agreed that Mr Maginness, being the only candidate proposed, be temporary Chairperson of the Committee.

Patsy McGlone left the meeting at 1.03 pm

Patsy McGlone returned to the meeting at 1.06pm and took the Chair.

Agreed: to receive from NISRA documentation on the methodology used to collate tourist statistics.

7. Green Jobs Initiative:- Written Briefing from Assembly Research

Agreed: to defer consideration of this paper to the next meeting.

8. Subordinate Legislation: SL1: The Gas (Applications for Licenses and Extensions) (Amendment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) 2013

Members were content with the policy implications on the proposed legislation.

9. Correspondence

Members noted the following items of correspondence for action:

i. From the Utility Regulator regarding the implementation of EU Third energy Package 

Agreed: to receive a further briefing from the Utility Regulator following the implementation of the legislation.

Members noted the following items of correspondence

ii. From the Department regarding new evaluation protocol.

iii. From the Institution of Engineering technology regarding an invitation to the Chairperson and Deputy Chairperson to attend the NI annual dinner.

iv. From the Utility Regulator regarding the incentivisation of conversion to natural gas.

v. From the Committee for Social Development regarding the Fuel Poverty Action Groups update.

10. Any other business

Members considered the Forward Work Programme.

Members noted that either the Chair or the Committee Office has been contacted to arrange or facilitate a meeting on the review of the Consumer Council.

Agreed: the Committee agreed to visit Bombardier and Harland & Wolff during February.

Agreed: the Forward Work Programme was agreed.

11. Date, time and place of next meeting       

The next meeting of the Committee will take place on 07 February at 10.00 am Room 30, Parliament Buildings.

The Chair adjourned the meeting at 1.35pm

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