Page last updated at 13:07 GMT, Thursday, 24 November 2011

Enterprise Committee

The enterprise committee invited the DETI minister to attend a session to clarify newspaper allegations concerning her family's links to shale gas exploration in Fermanagh, on 24 November 2011.

It was agreed that the chair and deputy chair of the committee would also seek a private discussion with the minister, Arlene Foster, on the issue.

The invitation to Mrs Foster was proposed by Sinn Fein's Phil Flanagan.

He said there was a need for clarity around the "allegations that are circulating around the minister".

The DUP's Gordon Dunne said they were "shocked and astounded by the allegations made by Mr Flanagan".

The Sinn Fein member's proposal was backed by Green party MLA Steven Agnew who said the minister should come and explain her position.

Paul Frew of the DUP warned that there was a danger that "this will become some sort of witch hunt".

Phil Flanagan said he would not be embarking on a witch hunt of any kind.

The committee was also briefed by departmental officials on a scheme to promote the use of renewable heat.

Fiona Hepper from DETI introduced the results of a consultation on the Renewable Heat Incentive.

She said there had been 78 responses and the department was reconsidering the proposed tariff bands as a result.

Committee chair Alban Maginness was concerned that the Northern Ireland Manufacturers Group had said the scheme "is not going to work".

Ms Hepper replied that Northern Ireland was a different energy market from Great Britain.

Enterprise committee membership


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