1. Adoption of Minutes of the 2017 AGM
The NIABT President presided over the AGM formalities.
The minutes of the previous Annual General Meeting were agreed by the members as a true record of the meeting.
Proposed: Stephen Kelly
Seconded: Colin Neill
2. NIABT Accounts 2017/2018
Final accounts for the 2017/2018 financial year were presented to delegates in advance of the AGM.
The accounts were approved by members.
Proposed: Conor Murphy
Seconded: Trevor Lunn
3. Update on Current Status of the Trust
Delegates were provided a summary of the decisions made at the last AGM, specifically to wind up the Trust and disperse any remaining funds. Delegates were also informed of the Board of Trustees’ decision, at its meetings in February 2018, September 2018 and January 2019 to delay the winding up of the Trust until the political situation became more clear.
Simon Burrowes provided a financial update, including the details of money spent by the Trust since the last AGM, and the projected costs for the next financial year.
4. Vote by Ordinary Resolution on an election for Trustees
At its meeting in January 2019, the NIABT Board of Trustees agreed to put a resolution to the membership allowing the current trustees to remain in post without election to allow for continuity in managing the dissolution of the Trust.
This was by ordinary resolution and must be passed by 50% of the members at the meeting or those who voted by proxy.
5 proxy votes were received.
“that no election is required to the Board of Trustees at this AGM to allow the current Trustees to continue in post to oversee the agreed winding up of the Trust and that the decision not to accept nominations for new Business Member trustees be ratified.”
The President wished the new Board of Trustees well and that they would manage the wind down of the Trust successfully and support the development of the ABN in the future.
5. Any Other Business
Christine Watson stated that the current situation was extremely frustrating and asked why the formation of the Assembly Business Network at not progressed. She also stated that she felt that members of the trust had been misled when making the decision to wind up the Trust. Christine stated that the proposal to wind up the Trust has been made on the basis that the ABN would replace it.
The President, in reply, re-iterated the Board’s position that in the current political climate, it was reasonable to put the dissolution of the trust, and therefore the introduction of the ABN, on hold.
The Chair of the Board, in reply, stated that he understood members’ frustration and that the current situation was not ideal, nor could it have been predicted in late 2017, when the decision was made to dissolve the Trust, that the political impasse would continue into 2019.
Christine Watson re-affirmed her position and stated that, given the current political and economic position, it was more important than ever for the Trust to continue its overriding mission. She asked if the decision to wind up the trust could be reversed.
The Deputy Chair of the Board, in reply, stated that the local business community were deeply frustrated with the current political situation, and that the Board were still committed to meeting their key objectives. He reminded members that the Board had debated the issue on three occasions since the last AGM, and agreed unanimously on each occasion to keep the dissolution of the trust on hold, given the current political situation.
The President confirmed that the decision to dissolve the Trust had been made by Special Resolution at the last AGM, and it remained the Board’s position to action that decision at the appropriate time.
The President stressed that the Northern Ireland Assembly is committed to engaging with the Northern Ireland business community and that he is looking forward to working with the membership through the new Assembly Business Network.
The President asked the Chair of the Board to make some closing remarks.
The Chair thanked all delegates for attending the AGM, and re-iterated that he understood member’s frustration at the current situation. The Chair stated that although it was not satisfactory to put the dissolution of the Trust on hold, it was the Board’s view that this was the most appropriate course of action until the political situation was resolved.
The President closed the 2019 AGM.