All posts by Chris Taylor

The Rise And Fall Of The Northern Ireland Property Market

Property was the matter of the day when Members of the NIABT received a briefing on the Northern Ireland property market, with the focus on both the commercial and residential sectors.

Marie Hunt, Executive Director at CBRE and Tom McClelland, Housing Spokesperson at the Royal Institute of Chartered Surveyors were the guest speakers at the March 2012 event.

Marie provided a comprehensive overview of the commercial property outlook for 2012, focusing on occupier, investment, development land and hotel markets. She highlighted issues such as a lack of consumer confidence, decreased credit opportunities for businesses and households and instability in the wider employment market as being contributing factors to the continuing downturn.

It was not all doom and gloom though and Marie did provide plenty of food for thought, particularly in relation to the tourism opportunities of 2012 and the possibility of devolving Corporation Tax to attract FDI.

Tom McClelland noted that many of the factors affecting the commercial sector were just as relevant for the residential side of the market. He did stress though that there are reasons to be cheerful and that the worst does now seem to be behind us – affordability for example is dramatically improved and the numbers of first time buyers are also on the rise.

We caught up with Tom and Marie after the briefing and you can find out more by listening to our audio interviews below:

 

NIABT And UU Students Join Forces

The Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust are well accustomed to welcoming members of the local and national business sector to their meetings, briefings and education seminars. In a new departure, on Monday 12 March, University of Ulster students were invited to the NIABT’s monthly board meeting to record minutes and to get a flavour of the work of the Trust.

Thirty five students from UU’s PGD/MSc in Management and Corporate Governance Course, Corporate Secretaryship Module, had pens and paper at the ready to detail the business and discussions of the meeting.

NIABT Members were keen to help the students see what the practical application of their academic knowledge would mean in the world of work and welcomed them to the meeting.
As well as taking minutes, which they all did verbatim, the students also went on a tour of Parliament Buildings and received presentations on the work of the Northern Ireland Assembly and on the NIABT. NIABT Members were also on hand to answer questions and to talk to the students about their future work aspirations.

We caught up with UU students Martin Karanda, Kerry Lenaghan and Philip McCarron as well as NIABT Vice Chair Glyn Roberts to find out more.

Listen or download the MP3:

MLA Sees How Local Company Supports Bereaved Families

Local MLA Chris Lyttle visited James Brown & Sons Funeral Directors today to take part in the Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust’s (NIABT) Fellowship Programme.

The Fellowship Programme offers MLAs a unique opportunity to learn more about the day to day work of businesses in their local constituencies.

East Belfast MLA Chris Lyttle visited James Brown & Sons Funeral Directors today to take part in the Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust’s (NIABT) Fellowship Programme. Pictured l-r: Chris Lyttle MLA and James Brown Funeral Director.
Pictured l-r: Chris Lyttle MLA and James Brown Funeral Director.

Speaking after today’s programme, Chris Lyttle MLA said: “The death of a loved one and coping in the aftermath of personal grief and loss is something that we will all have to face at some point in our lives. It was a privilege, that, through the NIABT Fellowship, I was able to visit James Brown & Sons and find out more about what they do to support families and individuals through such a difficult and traumatic time.

“As well as learning about the general services provided, today was also an opportunity for me to find out more about how funeral directors have adapted to provide a more holistic approach. This includes a tailored advice service and support for relatives and loved ones.

“I would strongly encourage other MLAs to take part in NIABT Fellowship Programmes within their own constituencies. Not only does it foster a better understanding of the work of local companies, but it also helps political representatives to make better and more informed decisions on policy and legislation as it relates to the local economy.”

The Fellowship Programme is open and available to all MLAs and participating members of the Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust. Local Businesses who wish to find out more about the programme and benefits of membership can visit the NIABT website www.niabt.org

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

About the NIABT

The Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust (NIABT) works to forge links with, and promote the exchange of knowledge and information between, local businesses and parliamentarians in Northern Ireland and in Europe. Open to businesses from all sectors and of all sizes, the NIABT organises activities including breakfast briefings, educational visits, fellowships and seminars and an annual European visit.

NIABT aims:

  • to provide Assembly Members (MLAs) with a better insight into how local businesses work, helping them to make informed judgements when reviewing Department policy and legislation relating to the local economy.
  • to improve the business community’s understanding of how the Assembly and devolution work and how policy and legislation is developed.

Media enquiries to:

Sinead Murphy
Deputy Communications Officer
Phone: 028 9052 5938
Mobile: 078 998 64368
Email: sinead.murphy@niassembly.gov.uk

Local MLA Warms To Renewable Energy

Local Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA Phil Flanagan, right, speaking to Mr. John Gilliland, owner, Rural Generation, during a visit, organised through the Northern Ireland Assembly and Business TrustÕs (NIABT) popular Fellowship Programme, to EnniskillenÕs CAFRE College which now uses one of Rural GenerationÕs wood fuelled boilers to provide most of the heat for the College. Photo Lorcan Doherty Photography
Local Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA Phil Flanagan, right, speaking to Mr. John Gilliland, owner, Rural Generation, during a visit, organised through the Northern Ireland Assembly and Business TrustÕs (NIABT) popular Fellowship Programme, to EnniskillenÕs CAFRE College which now uses one of Rural GenerationÕs wood fuelled boilers to provide most of the heat for the College. Photo Lorcan Doherty Photography

Local Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA Phil Flanagan today took part in a working visit to one of our most successful renewable energy companies, Rural Generation.

The visit which was organised through the Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust’s (NIABT) popular Fellowship Programme, gives MLAs an opportunity to learn more about the work of organisations in their local constituencies.

As part of today’s programme, Mr Flanagan MLA visited Enniskillen’s CAFRE College which now uses one of Rural Generation’s wood fuelled boilers to provide most of the heat for the College.

Speaking about his experience Mr Flanagan said: “I was delighted to be given the opportunity through the NIABT Fellowship Programme to meet with a local company which is at the forefront of developing new environmental solutions.

“During today’s visit I was able to see first-hand how wood fuelled boilers which use carbon neutral wood pellets can significantly reduce carbon dioxide emissions and general fuel costs. For a home grown business these results are both innovative and exciting.

“The CAFRE Campus at Enniskillen is an important driver for innovation in the agriculture and agri-food industries and it is only right that it is adopting the greenest technology it can.

Local Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA Phil Flanagan with Mr. John Gilliland, owner, Rural Generation, during a visit, organised through the Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust’s (NIABT) popular Fellowship Programme, to Enniskillen’s CAFRE College which now uses one of Rural Generation’s wood fuelled boilers to provide most of the heat for the College. Photo Lorcan Doherty Photography
Local Fermanagh and South Tyrone MLA Phil Flanagan with Mr. John Gilliland, owner, Rural Generation, during a visit, organised through the Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust’s (NIABT) popular Fellowship Programme, to Enniskillen’s CAFRE College which now uses one of Rural Generation’s wood fuelled boilers to provide most of the heat for the College. Photo Lorcan Doherty Photography

“I was also pleased to see how Rural Generation is continuing to seek new ways of treating waste coming from both industry and agriculture. Their trials using willow in the cleaning of dirty water from rural sewage treatment work shows us that there is unlimited potential for greener solutions.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

The Fellowship Programme offers MLAs a unique opportunity to learn more about the day to day work of organisations in their local constituencies and to participate in a range of activities from the boardroom to the shop or factory floor.

The Fellowship Programme is open and available to all MLAs and participating members of the Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust. Local Businesses who wish to find out more about the programme and benefits of membership can visit the NIABT website www.niabt.org

About the NIABT

The Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust (NIABT) works to forge links with, and promote the exchange of knowledge and information between, local businesses and parliamentarians in Northern Ireland and in Europe. Open to businesses from all sectors and of all sizes, the NIABT organises activities including breakfast briefings, educational visits, fellowships and seminars and an annual European visit.

NIABT aims:

  • to provide Assembly Members (MLAs) with a better insight into how local businesses work, helping them to make informed judgements when reviewing Department policy and legislation relating to the local economy.
  • to improve the business community’s understanding of how the Assembly and devolution work and how policy and legislation is developed.

Media enquiries to:

Sinead Murphy
Deputy Communications Officer
Phone: 028 9052 5938
Mobile: 078 998 64368
Email: sinead.murphy@niassembly.gov.uk

MLA Finds Perfect Footing On Local Property Ladder

Lagan Valley MLA Brenda Hale visited McClelland Salter Estate Agents to take part in the Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust’s (NIABT) Fellowship Programme. Pictured l-r: Mr Tom McClelland and Brenda Hale MLA.
Pictured l-r: Mr Tom McClelland and Brenda Hale MLA.

Lagan Valley MLA Brenda Hale visited McClelland Salter Estate Agents today to take part in the Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust’s (NIABT) Fellowship Programme.

The popular Fellowship Programme offers MLAs a unique opportunity to learn more about the day to day work of organisations in their local constituencies and to participate in a range of activities from the boardroom to the shop or factory floor.

Speaking after today’s programme, Brenda Hale MLA said: “This was a great opportunity to learn more about how the property market works and how organisations like McClelland Salter are adapting their work and approach to doing business in the current economic climate.

Lagan Valley MLA Brenda Hale visited McClelland Salter Estate Agents today to take part in the Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust’s (NIABT) Fellowship Programme. Pictured l-r: Julie Gibson (Sales Director for McClelland Salter Estate Agents) gives Brenda Hale MLA a quick lesson on property valuation.
Pictured l-r: Julie Gibson (Sales Director for McClelland Salter Estate Agents) gives Brenda Hale MLA a quick lesson on property valuation.

“As well as providing a good theoretical grounding, the practical element of today’s programme has helped me to understand how political representatives can support and encourage greater economic growth and development at a local level.

“The current financial downturn has been tough for businesses here and it has had a marked impact on the local property market. Today, I have viewed first-hand the resilience of one local company that is finding new and innovative methods of making its business work in an uncertain financial climate.

“Hopefully, upcoming opportunities for MLAs to take part in programmes in their own constituencies will help us all to make better and more informed decisions on policy and legislation as it relates to the local economy.”

The Fellowship Programme is open and available to all MLAs and participating members of the Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust. Local Businesses who wish to find out more about the programme and benefits of membership can visit the NIABT website http://niabt.org

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

About the NIABT
The Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust (NIABT) works to forge links with, and promote the exchange of knowledge and information between, local businesses and parliamentarians in Northern Ireland and in Europe. Open to businesses from all sectors and of all sizes, the NIABT organises activities including breakfast briefings, educational visits, fellowships and seminars and an annual European visit.

NIABT aims:

  • to provide Assembly Members (MLAs) with a better insight into how local businesses work, helping them to make informed judgements when reviewing Department policy and legislation relating to the local economy.
  • to improve the business community’s understanding of how the Assembly and devolution work and how policy and legislation is developed.

Media enquiries to:

Sinead Murphy
Deputy Communications Officer
Phone: 028 9052 5938
Mobile: 078 998 64368
Email: sinead.murphy@niassembly.gov.uk

North West Regeneration Projects In The Spotlight For Business Trust

Press Release

Business and political leaders from the Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust (NIABT) visited the North West today where they took part in a whistle stop tour of a number of high profile regeneration sites, including the Peace Bridge and the former military site at Ebrington.

The visit, hosted by Ilex the Urban Regeneration Company, was organised to give NIABT members a flavour of the regeneration work currently taking place and on the company’s future plans to restore and redevelop the city.

Speaking after the visit, NIABT Trustee and MLA for East Londonderry, David McClarty said: “We were delighted to have been given the opportunity to see, at first hand, the huge amount of regeneration work that has taken place in the city over such a short space of time. The Peace Bridge and the site at Ebrington stand out as symbols of a new found confidence in the future of the city both economically and in terms of fostering closer community relations.

“The NIABT is an important forum where business and political leaders can come together to discuss the challenges we face and the opportunities for future growth and cooperation”.

“During our briefing from Ilex today, we learned more about future projects and look forward to seeing how the organisation will continue to support innovation and regeneration in the city”.

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

About the NIABT

The NIABT was established in 2002. An independent and self-financing educational charity, its focus is to foster development and promote Northern Ireland. The Trust brings together Assembly Members and the business sector to further its aims.

The Trust’s work is underpinned by a programme of seminars, visits and fellowship placements that brings together MLAs and business representatives. Programmes are non-partisan, non-lobbying, educational and informative. The NIABT is modelled on similar schemes in other legislatures, for example Westminster’s Industry & Parliament Trust.

Media enquiries to:
Sinead Murphy
Deputy Communications Officer
Phone: 028 9052 5938
Mobile: 078 998 64368
Email: sinead.murphy@niassembly.gov.uk

Local Businesses Attend Westminster Educational Programme

NIABT Members visit the Irish Embassy in London

Members of the Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust have just returned from a memorable educational programme held at Westminster. This is the first year that the NIABT has run such a programme and it attracted a wide range of parliamentary and business members, all interested in learning more about how central government works. Members had a busy and varied schedule on their two day visit.

(l-r) James Brown, Glyn Roberts (NIABT vice-chair), Richard Hogg, David McClarty MLA

Day 1 of the visit and we literally hit the ground running with an informative session on the Legislative and Committee process at Westminster. Alasdair Mackenzie from Parliamentary Outreach set the context by highlighting and differentiating the decision making powers at Westminster and the NI Assembly. He was ably assisted by David Simpson MP and NI Affairs Committee Chairperson Laurence Roberson MP. Laurence provided information from a political perspective, highlighting examples of recent high profile committee reports on Corporation Tax and Airport Tax and answering questions from NIABT Members.

Alan Hunter, Judith Cochrane MLA and Leslie Cree MLA

Next we had a meeting with Jeffrey Donaldson MP, Jim Shannon MP, Minister of State for Northern Ireland Hugo Swire MP and Lord Empey who dropped in to regale NIABT Members with personal anecdotes and insights into their life and work at Westminster.

[wpaudio url=”http://niabt.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/leslie-cree.mp3″ text=”Leslie Cree discusses how the NIABT can help local businesses”]

The hectic nature of the first day continued with a briefing from the Confucius Institute for Northern Ireland which is based at the University of Ulster. The China Project Manager talked about the importance the Institute places on fostering closer academic, cultural and economic ties between China and Northern Ireland.

We were later joined by Patrick McIlroy from Invest NI, who delivered a presentation to the group on the role of Invest NI in London and the challenges faced when attempting to secure jobs for Northern Ireland.

Rt Hon Jeffrey Donaldson MP with NIABT Members

Late afternoon and we just about catch our breath in time to attend an NI Affairs Select Committee Meeting where discussions centred on the annual loss of revenue to the Treasury as a result of fuel laundering and smuggling in Northern Ireland. For both parliamentary and business members, this provided an excellent opportunity to watch a Westminster Committee in action.

[wpaudio url=”http://niabt.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/david-mcclarty.mp3″ text=”David McClarty explains why businesses need to understand how Westminster works”]

After a busy day of meetings and briefings, we had a working dinner hosted by Dr Alasdair McDonnell MP MLA. The hard work continued as we were all keen to discuss a number of business related issues including the importance of ensuring appropriate training for school leavers entering the work force.

During the dinner, Lord Ballyedmond joined Dr Alasdair McDonnell MP MLA at his table and Ian Paisley MP also hosted a table in the members’ Dining Room. Both Lord Ballyedmond and Ian Paisley MP added to the debates taking place by drawing on their vast business and politicla knowledge.

[wpaudio url=”http://niabt.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Bobby-McDonagh.mp3″ text=”Bobby McDonagh, the Irish Ambassador in London believes that there is so much potential for trade between the UK and Ireland”]

As Day 2 dawned it was another early start with an information session hosted by the Irish Embassy in London. After an informal discussion we were off again – this time to the Federation of Small Businesses building in London, where Andrew Cave, Head of FSB External Affairs provided an interesting and insightful overview of the work of the FSB in the UK and Northern Ireland. As always NIABT Members were keen to put their own questions forward.

[wpaudio url=”http://niabt.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/andrew-cave.mp3″ text=”Andrew Cave believes that it is important for small businesses to understand Westminster”]

The event provided networking opportunities (l-r) David Law & Clive Grudgings

After a working lunch, hosted by Lord Ballyedmond in the House of Lords, during which we were joined by Lord Maginnis, we embarked on the final part of the programme. 

Lord Empey joined us later and all three took part in an interesting discussion with us on the important scrutiny role of the House of Lords. The visit culminated in a tour of the House of Lords with Lord Maginnis, Lord Empey and Lord Ballyedmond providing a unique overview of the history and tradition that exists there.

Briefing on the Corporation Tax debate

The Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust breakfast briefing on Tuesday 14 June 2011, brought together a panel of experts to discuss the governments consultation on reducing Corporation tax in Northern Ireland.


The panel comprised the Minister for Finance and Personnel Sammy Wilson MP MLA, Dr. Esmond Birnie, Chief Economist for PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, Joanne Stuart, Director of Attrus Ltd and Patricia O’Hagan, Managing Director of Core Systems Ltd. The event attracted a wide range of leading business representatives and MLAs.

See more details about this event.

Agri-food sector crucial to the local economy

First Minister Peter Robinson MLA and Patsy McGlone MLA spoke to an audience of over 120 business people on the importance of the agri-food industry to the Northern Ireland economy, and how sharing information between businesses and MLAs can lead to new and exciting economic opportunities.

NIABT Business Member and Managing Director of O’Kane Poultry, Tony O’Neill, spoke of the difficulties faced by small agricultural based industries in the current economic climate. He told the audience that now was the time to work closely with the Assembly and with the NIABT in particular, to find practical solutions and to promote the local economy internationally.

Find out more information on the work of NIABT at http://niabt.org or follow us on twitter.com/niabt


Director General NIA Trevor Reaney, Patsy McGlone MLA, Tony O'Neill O'Kane Poultry and First Minister Peter Robinson MLA

Director General NIA Trevor Reaney, Patsy McGlone MLA, Tony O’Neill O’Kane Poultry and First Minister Peter Robinson MLA

Paula Godfree and Tina Symington from Elisabeth Svendson Trust with Louise Sally Patient and Client Council

Paula Godfree and Tina Symington from Elisabeth Svendson Trust with Louise Sally Patient and Client Council

Cecil Morton Glanbia Cheese with Sam Allen Droghed Dairy Farm

Cecil Morton Glanbia Cheese with Sam Allen Droghed Dairy Farm

First Minister Peter Robinson with Trevor Reaney Director General NIA and William Wright Wright Group

First Minister Peter Robinson with Trevor Reaney Director General NIA and William Wright Wright Group.

Suicide Prevention Training

The Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust (NIABT) is hosting a special training programme tonight (Monday 22 November) on suicide prevention.

PIPS Programmes will be here at Parliament Buildings to train MLAs, their staff and Business Trust members to spot the warnings signs and know where and when to get the right support for people at risk of taking their own life.

Just before tonight’s training we asked NIABT members and MLAs Sue Ramsey and Dawn Purvis how this training could help:

Take a look at the Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust website niabt.org – or follow them on Twitter to find out how membership of the NIABT could help your business.