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PUNT: Outlet row just isn't peachy

PUNT readers may not have heard of Dublin food company KC Peaches, which was established in 2006 by former corporate consultant Katie Cantwell and is co-owned by Vincent Carroll.

Seattle-born Cantwell said recently that amid the recession "there were challenges" with the business, which continues to thrive, although hurdles persist.

KC Peaches wants to open an outlet at a former Mortgage Store premises on Dame Street in the capital, and also in a former Sony retail unit beside St Stephen's Green. The latter has got the back up of Triode Newhill, the company that's part of Leo Crawford's and John Clohisey's BWG group, which controls the Spar franchise in Ireland.

Triode operates more than 100 Spar shops in Ireland and franchisee Thomas Ennis operates one up the road from the former Sony shop.

The store has historically been one of the busiest Spars in the country, with an annual turnover approaching €10m back in 2007.

Triode's architect insists the council should seek more information about the proposed KC Peaches outlet. Incredibly, the Triode architect adds that the change of use from a retail unit to restaurant by KC Peaches "would threaten the long-term viability of the street leading to . . . the deteriorating quality in the design of shopfronts and the public domain".

It all sounds a bit rich. The Punt was never one for sour grapes on any menu.

Cupla focal puzzles eurocrats

THERE was a little head scratching at the final press conference of the European Finance Ministers' meeting in Dublin Castle over the weekend.

After a plethora of questions on tax transparency and the finer points of a banking union, one reporter left some in the room a bit stumped.

Raidio na Gaeltachta was the last to pose a question in front of the assembled international media to Finance Minister Michael Noonan, who was flanked by a puzzled-looking Internal Markets Commissioner Michel Barnier (pictured) and European Central Bank vice-president Vitor Constancio.

Both Mr Barnier and Mr Constancio reached for their translation headphones, which weren't going to be of much help.

Despite being an official EU language, the only translations available were in English and French. Irish, our first national language, was ignored.

Both men played around with the headphones in a futile attempt to decipher the question and the response by Mr Noonan, but to no avail. Both remained a mystery save to perhaps some of the Irish officials and journalists in the room. ('The Punt' wasn't able to understand what was being said either).

It proved to be a light end to a long two days.

To be fair though, it was the only question to be asked in Irish at any of the press conferences. In addition, the efforts of the Irish presidency staff throughout the two-day gathering must be applauded. The accreditation and security process was efficient, and the media were kept fed, watered and provided with information at all times.

Go raibh maith agat.

Cork needs a capital injection

THE Cork Chamber of Commerce has elected Gillian Keating as president for its 194th year. Ms Keating is a partner at JW O'Donovan Solicitors in the city.

Speaking at the chamber's AGM, where she was elected, Mrs Keating stressed her commitment to the chamber's "collaborative approach to regional policy development".

"Our ethos of the 'power of many and the voice of one' is already acknowledged by central government as the way forward to ensure that regions like Cork are revitalised," she said.

The UCC grad practices in corporate finance, commercial and insolvency law.

She will have her work cut out for her in her new role. Ms Keating will be responsible for promoting businesses in a region that has been hit hard by the downturn, and has struggled in part to attract investment.

The Punt doesn't like to give advice, but Ms Keating would do well to drive interest in getting more flights into Cork Airport. The airport is, like Shannon, a superb facility, operating way under capacity. For Cork to thrive as a business centre it needs a direct flight from Dublin.

Irish Independent