Monday 21 October 2019

Samantha McCaughren: Will Eir switch the TV channel after departures?

Glen Killane had been tipped for RTE’s DG job
Glen Killane had been tipped for RTE’s DG job
Samantha McCaughren

Samantha McCaughren

There were some big departures at Eir this week, with a handful of senior executives exiting ahead of the takeover by telecoms billionaire Xavier Niel. Among those leaving are group marketing director Henry Drummer and director of corporate finance Michelle Bennett.

Perhaps one of the most interesting departures is Glen Killane, who was Eir's first ever managing director of TV and sport. At one stage he had been strongly tipped as a contender for the job of director general of RTE but the role went to Dee Forbes. He left shortly afterwards for the position in Eir to lead the telco's "significant plans" for its TV and sports services. One wonders if Neil sees quite such an opportunity for TV.

As for Killane, he must surely be interested in a job currently going in the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). In recent weeks, the Geneva-based organisation advertised for a new role, that of deputy sports director. Applications were due by mid-March and the process is ongoing. It would be a perfect role for Killane, who was group head of RTE Sport from 2004 to 2010 and also did a stint as president of the EBU, where his former boss Noel Curran is now director general. He could face competition, however, in the form of Ryle Nugent who left the RTE head of sport role in February after 24 years at the broadcaster. Surely both men would have a sporting chance?

Tenth Man to make mischief for two drinks companies

Former ‘head of mischief’ at Paddy Power, Ken Robertson, is clocking up some impressive clients at his new agency, the Tenth Man. It launched with key clients The FTSE-listed Restaurant Group.

Now C&C — which last week agreed to buy a UK drinks distributor — has enlisted the help of Robertson, who is very much pitching himself as the man who can promote challenger brands. The agency will work on C&C’s Five Lamps beer brand, as well as Corona and C&C’s sponsorship of the Forbidden Fruit music festival.

Robertson told me that the Tenth Man recently won a pitch for whiskey company Teeling, and the agency is also working with coffee chain Insomnia. Several more new clients will be named in the coming weeks. Perhaps it’s of no surprise that having opened an office in Dublin’s Camden Street, Robertson is expecting a second office in London by the end of the year.

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The Dead Rabbit bar in New York, owned by Irishmen Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry, very much represents the new generation of Irish bars.

Jack is the youngest ever recipient of the International Bartender of the Year award, while the bar — named after the city’s notorious 19th-century gang of Irish-Americans — has won the accolade of best bar in the world twice.

Tomorrow evening will see the launch of their collaboration with the Dublin Liberties Distillery, owned by Quintessential Brands, which makes among other things Irish cream liquors.

Their new ‘supper premium’ whiskey is of course called Dead Rabbit Irish Whiskey. According to the company, ‘the new whiskey specifically caters to the growing global demand for premium and super-premium spirits”. It will initially be available in the US, UK and Ireland.

Production of the whiskey will switch to The Dublin Liberties Distillery’s new distillery and visitor experience on Mill Street in the heart of the Dublin Liberties upon its completion in Autumn 2018.

Reads has sinking feeling about Setanta Centre plan

A raft of objectors are lining up to try and scupper plans by the Goodman family to redevelop the Setanta Centre in Dublin city centre. The most high-profile of these is the Kilkenny group, which is not afraid to take on a fight.

It has warned that a planned new €100m office development will result in “serious consequences” and job losses for its flagship store. Ternary Ltd has lodged planning an eight-storey office block, while Setanta Centre Unlimited is owner of the site and lists beef baron Larry Goodman and his eldest son Lawrence, who heads the family’s property interests, as directors. Other objectors include Reads Print, Design and Photocopying Bureau, which has filled many of the practical needs of students from nearby Trinity College for decades. While the Kilkenny Design Centre will be retained, Reads will be demolished to allow for a swimming pool and reception area. Presumably Reads hopes the current plans will sink without a trace.

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A high-end restaurant like the Ivy, favoured by celebrities such a Madonna and Victoria Beckham, is all about the details.

And the company behind Ivy, Troia (UK) Restaurants, is now seeking to tweak the planning permission to introduce some of its trademark designs to its Dublin premises.

Among the alterations being sought are diamond leaded coloured windows, a “key component of the Ivy brand”, as well as The Ivy’s distinctive bronze signs.

The restaurant got planning permission last December, although it was not without some hiccups.

The Dawson Street site had originally been zoned for retail and the Ivy convinced the Dublin City Council that it should be changed to permit the restaurant.  Records of pre-application consultations from February 2017, published in recent weeks, show that officials noted that the “applicant (Green REIT) indicated that they have marketed the site for over a year for retail purposes with no success”.  

Clearly more of an appetite for dining in the capital than shopping at the moment.

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