Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Wednesday, 14 November 2012
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Transport and Communications
Business of Joint Committee
I remind members to turn off their mobile telephones, as they cause the reporting system trouble. Apologies have been received from Deputy Terence Flanagan.
Item No. 1 is the draft minutes of the meetings of 7 and 8 November, which have been circulated. Are they agreed? Agreed. Does any matter arise from the minutes of those meetings?
Item No. 2 is a letter to the Northern Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, Ms Arlene Foster, MLA, which has been drafted and circulated. The letter arises from Senator Mooney's request concerning fracking in the Border regions, an issue that was considered by the committee at last week's meeting. Do members wish to change the wording or can we send it as is?
I have a copy if Deputy Colreavy would like to take a look. We can take it that everyone agrees to the wording. If the Deputy does not, we will revert to the issue.
Item No. 3 is access to the committees' documents database. Members will have seen the clerk's e-mail of 12 November regarding members' access to the database. If members would like their staff to have access, they are reminded to complete the form that was attached to the e-mail at appendix 1. Copies of the form are available from the committee secretariat.
Item No. 4 is the schedule of meetings. Members will recall that at our meeting on 7 November, it was agreed that the committee's meeting with the Commission for Energy Regulation, CER, and the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, SEAI, should be re-arranged for 21 November. We will meet the National Roads Authority, NRA, today. Our re-arranged meeting on wind energy is scheduled for 21 November and we are scheduled to meet the Irish Sports Council and the Olympic Council of Ireland re the Irish performance at the Olympics on 28 November.
I sent a communication this morning concerning a meeting I had yesterday. I assume that it arrived too late for the clerk's consideration. Given everything that is occurring in terms of aviation and so on, a delegation from Ireland West Airport Knock would like to meet the committee at our earliest convenience. The clerk would not have had an opportunity to see the communication yet.
We will try. On 5 December we will discuss the future of the post office network. After seeking consultations, we received approximately 12 submissions. The Oireachtas Library is going through them and we will deal with them on 5 December. Is that agreed? Agreed. We have left 19 December open to discuss any issue of major importance that arises between now and then. That will be our final day for this year.
Is the schedule of meetings agreed?
I apologise but I did not see the draft letter to the Northern Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment, Ms Arlene Foster, MLA prior to today. If it has not yet been sent, I propose that the substantive paragraph should read:
The committee also wishes to inquire if your Department is undertaking or intends to undertake a detailed environmental and economic, including agricultural and tourism industry, impact assessment of shale gas extraction in the Border region [adding the following words] and to indicate whether any exploratory hydraulic fracturing will be permitted prior to receiving and considering the results of this assessment.
The following correspondence has been circulated. No. 106 is a letter dated 2 November 2012 from Mr. Dermot Nolan, chairperson of the Commission for Energy Regulation outlining the reasons for his being unable to attend a recent planned meeting with the committee. It is proposed to note this item. Is that agreed? Agreed.
No. 107 is an e-mail dated 5 November 2012 from the Minister for Transport, Tourism and Sport, Deputy Varadkar, on the review of the penalty points system. It is proposed to note this item. Is that agreed? Agreed.
No. 108 is a letter dated 5 November 2012 from Ms Marian Harkin, MEP, regarding the closure of pilot training colleges in Waterford. It is proposed to inform Ms Harkin that as the liquidator is obliged to report on the matter to the office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement the committee does not propose to meet with the principals of the company. Is that agreed? Agreed.
No. 109 is a letter dated 8 November 2012 from Bord Gáis in response to what it maintains are inaccurate and misleading statements made by the Association of Plumbing and Heating Contractors of Ireland. The committee will go into private session to hear comments from members.