Lidl has made a public apology to three Irish councillors after it accused them of interfering in the planning process for political reasons.

The three, in line with the majority of their colleagues on Cork City Council, had given the go-ahead for a new Lidl store in the city, but had vetoed its application for an alcohol licence.

In appealing that refusal to An Bord Pleana, the Irish Planning Board, the company singled the trio out for criticism, alleging that their objection to the licence was "politically motivated".

The three - Fianna Fail councillors Damien Wallace and Tony Fitzgerald, and Jonathan O'Brien of Sinn Fein - challenged Lidl to substantiate the allegation or withdraw it.

Now the company has said sorry. A letter to last week's meeting of the city council, signed by the company's MD in Ireland, Patrick Kaudewitz, and property director Kevin Proctor, said the Lidl board was offering an apology to "the entire council and specifically to the three councillors".