Column One: Sniffing around

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The Independent Online
BEN DUNNE, the colourful Irish tycoon, has wasted no time since being sacked as chairman of the family business, Dunnes Stores, at the weekend. Mr Dunne, who fell out with his siblings on the board, yesterday bought 75 per cent of a small quoted Irish property company, Dunloe House. The word in Dublin is that it may be a vehicle for a new chain of stores.

Mr Dunne, kidnapped and held for six days by the IRA in 1983, has always enjoyed a high profile in Ireland. Last year his fame spread when a golfing holiday in Florida led to a fine for possessing cocaine. Mr Dunne had been found perched dangerously on a balcony on the 17th floor of a hotel with a young lady from Escorts In a Flash, a local agency, in his room.

BURIED in record burglary statistics from the Association of British Insurers is the revelation that 3 per cent of the pea-brained Joe Publics surveyed by Gallup simply didn't know if they had contents insurance.

CIBA, the Swiss pharmaceuticals group, invested a considerable amount of effort and money in its results presentation yesterday. It was a hi-tech affair with a satellite link providing two-way debate between Swiss journalists at Ciba's headquarters in Basle, and company bigwigs, analysts and reporters all agog in London.

Was it worth it? This was one question put to the chairman Alex Krauer, in London, by a Swiss hack: 'Is Ciba's logo blue and red because they are the colours of Basle football team?' No, he was told, Ciba just found it 'a pleasant combination of two colours'. At a squillion pounds a minute, it was truly gripping stuff.