The Punt: Backslapping for Biden in NY
US vice president Joe Biden will be honoured by the American Ireland Fund tomorrow evening in New York, being awarded the association's 'Peace Award' for his commitment to Ireland. Past recipients include Bill Clinton, who was recently reliving his heyday here.
Taoiseach Enda Kenny will be giving the keynote speech at the American Ireland event, which will no doubt be full of back-slapping and bonhomie.
The Punt just hopes that Mr Biden doesn't put his foot in it this time.
In a 2010 speech, as he welcomed then Taoiseach Brian Cowen to the White House for St Patrick's Day celebrations, Mr Biden commented on the 'death' of Mr Cowen's mother, who was very much alive: "God rest her soul," he said, before realising his error. "And – although, she's – wait – your mom's still – your mom's still alive. Your dad passed. God bless her soul."
Of course, Mr Biden has a string of gaffes that are hugely popular on the internet.
Still, the Punt accepts that, despite all this, he has ensured that Ireland and the peace process remained on the agenda in Washington.
Also being honoured at tomorrow's event is Robert McCann, the CEO of UBS Group Americas. He'll be getting the Leadership Award for being an "exemplary business leader and philanthropist".
Gavin rises to food challenge
MARK Gavin's had a change of heart. Readers may know the Mullingar man from Cuisine de France, the prolific purveyor of pre-prepared pecan pies (try saying that before your morning coffee) and bread rolls, where Gavin was once managing director.
It seems he has now seen the light, having just launched a new restaurant and food hall in his home town called Miller and Cook which "eschews pre-cooked goods in all forms", according to its latest press release.
"Everything on the menu is freshly made in-house."
The premises, located at a former Bank of Ireland site on Mullingar's main street, even has its own on-site bakery which uses "top-grade, additive-free flour".
The Punt is actually quite fond of Cuisine de France, despite the current vogue for all things carb-free. Its French name might hide its Irishness, but this Dublin-born company is a true indigenous success story.
Founded 20 years ago and bought by the company now know as European food giant Aryzta in 1987, it's now the leading manufacturer of bakery goods in the UK and Ireland. It's not been all plain sailing though.
The brand had a well-publicised falling out last year with Cork-based Musgrave, which owns SuperValu and Centra, over the price of its products. The dispute arose after Cuisine de France tried to put through an increase in price in October 2012 due to a rise in commodities such as flour and grain prices.
Irish team at McGill School
Well done to the Quinn School of Business which is set to become the first team from Ireland to compete at Canada’s prestigious McGill School of Management case competition next week.
The team will be arriving in Montreal on St Patrick's Day to compete at one of the top business schools in North America.
The competition is one of the best recognised student business competitions in the world and has been won by prestigious business schools such as the University of Carolina, HKUST Business School Hong Kong and Wharton University.
This year’s teams come from universities in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Denmark, Thailand, New Zealand, Serbia and Ireland.
The Quinn team consists of final-year students Shane O'Brien, Jamie Mintern, Lorcan Nyhan and Timothy Price.