The Minister informed the house that she is scheduled to meet Irish Government Ministers Leo Varadkar and Michael Ring, along with Minister Ní Chuilín, on 22 January to discuss the hosting of the Rugby World Cup in 2023.
On a follow up question, Colum Eastwood asked the Minister "what other plans, if any, does she have to support further sporting events on a cross-border, North/South basis?"
The Minister stated:
"The coming together of our Ministers and the relevant Ministers in the Republic of Ireland arises from a realisation that neither of us could host the World Cup on our own. In this instance, we should work together for mutual benefit in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, and I think that we have a good working relationship."
Bronwyn McGahan asked the Minister what support her Department offers to local retailers.
The Minister stated that her Department and Invest NI offer a wide range of initiatives that offer support and guidance to local retailers. With regard to trading online, the Minister explained "when local retailers can demonstrate a market opportunity online, Invest Northern Ireland can provide advice and guidance and may be able to give financial support, subject to its standard intervention principles."
In a resonse to Steven Agnew who asked the Minister for her assessment of the level of uptake of the Renewable Heat Incentive, she had this to say:
"The Northern Ireland renewable heat incentive was launched on 1 November 2012 for the non-domestic sector. As a result, 11·5 megawatts of new renewable heat capacity has been installed. Performance over the first 12 months of the scheme compares favourably with Great Britain. While accounting for less than 3% of the UK heat demand, the number of Northern Ireland applications equates to 6·8% of GB applications and 3·2% of accredited heat capacity. That demonstrates that the Northern Ireland scheme is punching above its weight.During topical questions topics covered included Tourism, Consumer Council, Jobs Fund: North Down, Wrightbus, Mivan and Small Businesses.
In addition, the performance of the renewable heat premium payment scheme, which provides support for the domestic market, has been very positive. Over 11 megawatts of new renewable heat capacity has been supported through that scheme. I believe that the deployment of over 22 megawatts of new renewable heat capacity in the past 18 months is a good start towards achieving the Executive’s target of 10% renewable heat by 2020."
You can read the full transcript on our website.