Saturday 20 January 2018

The Punt: Much ado about loos at castle

THE local council is very interested in the toilets at CRH's head office in Tallaght, The Punt notices.

The global building materials giant's HQ is located at Belgard Castle, a stately pile perched between a massive quarry and a golf course in the busy surrounds of south Dublin.

CRH lobbed in a planning application in April seeking to refurbish the castle annexe office building, including a link with new offices to the existing finance office building.

It also wanted to refurbish a garden lean-to and change its use to office accommodation.

Further, it sought retention permission for refurbishment of the castle's toilet facilities and of the cottage, also known as the piggery.

At any rate, South Dublin County Council has requested additional information.

"The success of CRH continues to put pressure on space at Belgard Castle," notes a planning report prepared for the company.

The toilets, apparently, were a disgrace, constructed when CRH first moved to the castle more than 40 years ago. "There was no ladies' facility," note the consultants.

Even worse, external auditors cannot be accommodated in the castle when on site and have to be housed in Portakabins when they're trawling through the books.

CRH wants permission to retain the Portakabins "for permanent staff as well as the external auditors" while refurbishment of the castle annexe proceeds.

Chief executive Myles Lee will miss all the fun. He's retiring at the end of the year.

Business Post's new knight

Can Paul Cooke turn around 'The Sunday Business Post'? He has certainly been a major player in the Irish media for some time.

The new owner of 'The Sunday Business Post' is no stranger to difficult situations. The tough-talking accountant was the man behind the revival of 'The Star' when that newspaper was struggling.

That turnaround involved closing the loss-making Sunday edition and several other difficult decisions but ultimately ensured that the newspaper survived.

He parted company with 'The Star' and Independent News and Media after 24 years in 2011 with a promise to look for fresh opportunities and a one-off payment of €550,000 in his back pocket.

Yesterday, Cooke and Key Capital bought the 'Business Post' for little more than that payment and made good on Cooke's 2011 hope that he had "both the experience and energy to make a significant new contribution".

The Punt is sure that neither Cooke nor the staff at 'The Sunday Business Post' will have an easy few months but The Punt is nevertheless delighted that a fine title with many fine journalists lives to fight another day.

Magnet pips Eircom to post

THE Punt hears there are a few red faces in Eircom these days. The telecoms utility has been busy advertising its new efibre network to all and sundry but forgot to register the domain name.

That's a fairly basic mistake for a technology company, The Punt can't help thinking.

Somebody else has now beaten them to the punch, a cheeky little company called Magnet.

Any unsuspecting consumer interested in the new superfast broadband would want to have their wits about them if they type into their web browsers.

First impressions suggest an Eircom site with lots of familiar-looking white and orange, but anybody clicking further will be directed to Magnet's site and offered what Magnet calls fat pipe broadband accompanied by all sorts of boasts about relative speeds.

While The Punt is unlikely to switch service provider any time soon because nobody seems to offer any broadband connection to Punt Towers, he can't help admiring Magnet's energy and ingenuity.


Irish Independent

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