NIABT Gets To The Heart Of Core Systems

On Friday 27 April,   members of the Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust visited Core Systems Ltd in North Belfast. Organised as part of the NIABTs popular education programme, this seminar provided both MLAs and business members with an opportunity to learn more about the work and services provided by this important local business.

Core Systems are leading-edge experts in Identity Management Solutions for high security facilities both here in Northern Ireland and further afield. Patricia O’Hagan, Managing Director of the company provided members with a fascinating insight into the background of the organisation and  the work they do, as well as allowing time for questions from the floor.

Following the presentation, members travelled to the Young Offenders Centre at Hydebank, where they received a tour of the site as well as getting an opportunity to see Core’s biometric systems in action.

Whilst at Hydebank, the NIABT delegation also had a chance to meet with Opportunity Youth to hear about the supporting role they provide for all who come into custody at Hydebank Prison and the Young Offenders Centre.

The NIABT organises a range of relevant and regular educational seminars, all of which give members a unique insight into the important and exciting innovations led by Northern Ireland business and industry.

If you would like more information on how you or your business can get involved please email us at info@niabt.org

Eurozone in Crisis

Professor David Phinnemore, Professor of European Politics at the Queens University Belfast was on hand on Tuesday 17 April 2012 to brief members on the recent crisis in the Eurozone.

The talk focused on some of the key stages on the EU timeline, leading up to the spiralling crisis of December 2009 when Greece signalled debts of €110bn.

The briefing looked closely at how the European Union responded to the Greece debt crisis and the subsequent bailouts required for Ireland and Portugal.

The introduction of the €440bn European Financial Stability Facility (ESFS in May 2010 and the agreement by the European Council to establish a permanent European Stability Mechanism in October 2010 were important initial steps in a bid to safeguard the financial stability of the euro area as a whole.

There were a number of thought provoking questions from members. They were keen to discover what influence national politics would have on how the crisis is resolved and whether or not economies such as Ireland and Portugal could develop fast enough to actually repay the debt owed. Members were also interested to learn if more and more differentiation of membership could eventually lead to a fragmentation of the union.

There were of course no easy answers but Professor Phinnemore was keen to point out that a more positive outlook could be on the horizon.  He cited the July 2011 Treaty establishing a permanent European Stability Mechanism (ESM) and the adoption in October 2011of the ‘six pack’ of legislative measures on improved economic governance as concrete methods to  stabilize the union.

Connecting Local Businesses Is Focus Of NIABT Omagh Event

The way businesses in Omagh and West Tyrone, can work to promote local economic development was the focus of a Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust (NIABT) event on Thursday 22 March 2012.

The event highlighted how the NIABT can work with local business and organisations such as the local Omagh Chamber of Commerce and Industry, who were instrumental in setting up this event.

Speaking after the event, local MLA Barry McElduff said: “Our regional businesses are central to improving the local economy both from an employment perspective and also by helping to rebalance our economy. The NIABT plays a vital role in bringing together local business leaders with those in political life who are in a position to bring forward policies that will help improve our economic prospects.

“In this challenging economic climate it is particularly important that MLAs take every opportunity to connect with businesses in their own constituencies and to understand the very particular issues and concerns affecting the local economy. MLAs are responsible for developing sound economic policy and legislation which will serve to help local businesses grow and thrive. The opportunity to network and to share experiences at an event such as this is an excellent starting point.”

Local MLA Thomas Buchanan was also present and said: “As a local MLA, I was delighted to be here tonight and to have met with so many local business representatives. It was also heartening to see the resilience of local companies, many of whom are working hard to seek new and innovative ways of making their businesses succeed and prosper in an uncertain financial climate.

“The important role that the NIABT plays in creating opportunities for mutual understanding and learning between MLAs and local businesses cannot be under estimated. The regular NIABT seminars, educational visits and briefings are instrumental in providing a platform for knowledge sharing and increased awareness. With over 60 local businesses represented here tonight, I hope that many will take this opportunity to find out more about how the NIABT works and importantly how it may serve to offer help and support in the future.”

The NIABT Omagh dinner attracted representatives from a large number of companies based in the local Omagh and wider Tyrone area and gave them an opportunity to get to know and forge better working links with their MLAs.

Ends

Front L-R.  Bernie McNamee USEL; Joe Byrne MLA; Hilary England, Tyrone Property Co; Barry McElduff MLA  Back row L-R Dr Nicholas O'Shiel, Omagh Enterprise Ltd; Pat Doherty MLA; Arthur Savage, USEL; Christopher Kelly, President Omagh Chamber of Commerce; Tom Buchanan,  MLA; Julian McKeown, Abac All Business Advice Centre; Patrick Bogue, Bogues Jewellers and Dominic McClements, NW of Ireland Printing & Publishing.
Front L-R. Bernie McNamee USEL; Joe Byrne MLA; Hilary England, Tyrone Property Co; Barry McElduff MLA Back row L-R Dr Nicholas O'Shiel, Omagh Enterprise Ltd; Pat Doherty MLA; Arthur Savage, USEL; Christopher Kelly, President Omagh Chamber of Commerce; Tom Buchanan, MLA; Julian McKeown, Abac All Business Advice Centre; Patrick Bogue, Bogues Jewellers and Dominic McClements, NW of Ireland Printing & Publishing.
L-R Shauna Baxter, Personal Health and Fitness Omagh; Ben O'Hanlon, Todds Leap Ballygawley; Barry McElduff MLA; Patrick Conway, Conway Carpets Omagh; Michael McGarvey, ABC Turbo Clean, Omagh.
L-R Patrick Bogues, Bogues Jewellers; Joe Byrne MLA; John McKinney, Ulster History Park and John Kelly, Accountant, Omagh.
L-R Patrick Bogues, Bogues Jewellers; Joe Byrne MLA; John McKinney, Ulster History Park and John Kelly, Accountant, Omagh.
L-R Alastair Patterson, Lowry Brothers, Castlederg; Olga Walls, Derg Arms; Tom Buchanan MLA and James McConnell, Fintona Autospares.
L-R Alastair Patterson, Lowry Brothers, Castlederg; Olga Walls, Derg Arms; Tom Buchanan MLA and James McConnell, Fintona Autospares.

Notes to Editors:

Omagh NIABT Event

  •  This event has been organised by the Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust (NIABT) in conjunction with the Omagh Chamber of Commerce.
  • In attendance at this event were local MLAs Thomas Buchanan MLA, Phil Flanagan MLA, Ross Hussey MLA, Barry McElduff MLA, Pat Doherty MLA and Michaela Boyle MLA.
  •  The event was attended by over 60 local business representatives.

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
Northern Ireland Assembly
Phone: 028 9052 5938
Mobile: 078 998 64368
Email: sinead.murphy@niassembly.gov.uk

Connecting Local Businesses Is Focus Of NIABT Craigavon Event

The way businesses in Craigavon can work to promote local economic development was the focus of a Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust (NIABT) lunch today (Thursday 22 March 2012).

Pictured speaking at the event is local Upper Bann MLA Jo – Anne Dobson

The event highlighted how the NIABT can work with local business and organisations such as the local Chamber of Commerce and Craigavon Borough Council, both of which were instrumental in setting up this event.

Speaking at the lunch, local MLA and NIABT Member Jo-Anne Dobson said: “Our local businesses are central to improving the Northern Ireland economy both from an employment perspective and also by helping to rebalance our economy. The NIABT plays a vital role in bringing together local business leaders with those in political life who are in a position to bring forward policies that will help improve our economic prospects.

“In this challenging economic climate it is particularly important that MLAs take every opportunity to connect with businesses in their own constituencies and to understand the very particular issues and concerns affecting the local economy. I am delighted to have been able to take part in today’s event in Craigavon and to have met directly with local business leaders from Portadown, Lurgan, Craigavon, Gilford, Banbridge and the surrounding area.”

Pictured from l - r are: James Devlin Head of Business NI at BT and NIABT Board Member, Samuel Gardiner MLA, Robert McVeigh from Craigavon Area Learning Community, Jo - Anne Dobson MLA, Trevor Rainey Clerk Director General of the NI Assembly, Sydney Anderson MLA and Doris Kelly from Greenstone Collectibles in Craigavon.

James Devlin, Head of Business NI at BT and an NIABT Board Member was also present at today’s lunch: “As a Board Member, I am well aware of the important role that the NIABT plays in creating opportunities for mutual understanding and learning between MLAs and local businesses. The regular NIABT seminars, educational visits and briefings are instrumental in providing a platform for knowledge sharing and increased awareness.

“It is imperative that our political representatives are in a position to develop sound economic policy and legislation which will serve to help local businesses to thrive. The opportunity to network and to share experiences at an event such as this is an excellent starting point.”

The lunch attracted representatives from a large number of companies based in the local Craigavon area and gave them an opportunity to get to know and forge better working links with their MLAs.

Ends

Notes to Editors:

Craigavon NIABT Event

  • This event has been organised by the Northern Ireland Assembly and Business Trust (NIABT) in conjunction with the local Chamber of Commerce and Craigavon Borough Council.
  • The MLAs in attendance at this event were Upper Bann MLAs, Jo-Anne Dobson MLA, Sydney Anderson MLA, Dolores Kelly MLA and Samuel Gardiner MLA.
  • The event was attended by 40 local business representatives.

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
Northern Ireland Assembly
Phone: 028 9052 5938
Mobile: 078 998 64368
Email: sinead.murphy@niassembly.gov.uk

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/South Collaborative Opportunities in EU FP7

l-r, Farha Brahmi (Invest NI), Robin Newton MLA (NIABT Chair), Glyn Roberts (NIABT vice-Chair), Aidan Gough (InterTradeIreland), Joanne Coyle (Invest NI), Simon Grattan (InterTradeIreland)

In November 2011, Aidan Gough and Simon Grattan from InterTradeIreland presented an overview of North/South collaborative opportunities in EU Framework Programme 7. They were joined on a Q & A Panel by Farha Brahmi, Robert Bunn, Joanne Coyle and Lisa O’Reilly, all from Invest NI.