As I cannot interview you personally, I take advantage of the courtesy of the Editor to call your attention to the Industrial Conference to be held on 22nd and 23rd October in Cork under the auspices of the Department of Agriculture and Technical Instruction for Ireland and the Executive Committee of the Cork International Exhibition, at which a paper is to be read on “Irish Milling”. I would like to express my hope that you will attend and take advantage of the opportunity thus afforded, to bring before the public the great importance of encouraging this particular home industry, which was at one time, and may be again, a very flourishing trade all over the country, giving employment to hundreds of workmen.
I am quite certain that if the working classes of this country realized what the direct loss of wages amounted to owing to the large importation of foreign flour (I calculate approximately £25 to £30 on every 1,000 sacks), they would appreciate the importance of encouraging, as far as they can, the consumption of the home-manufactured article. The farmers also ought to be specially interested in the question, as the more flour manufactured at home, the more plentiful, and therefore cheaper, will be bran and pollard, than which no more suitable feeding can be obtained for stock. Additionally, it has been proved by careful experiments in America that the manure from cattle fed on wheat offal puts back into the ground a larger proportion of that which the land requires than any artificial manure yet produced.
Cork seems to be a peculiarly suitable place for such a Conference of millers to be held; it is still a large and important milling center, with the largest firm of grain importers into Ireland having their headquarters there. If the Irish millers could meet together in Cork to discuss the question as to how best to cultivate, maintain, and increase the trade, much good would, I am persuaded, result. Let us put aside all trade jealousy for a time and work together for the common good, for I firmly believe that not only does every extra bag of flour a miller is enabled to sell displace a bag of imported flour, but it helps his neighbor to do the same.
I do not know what steps the Department is taking in the matter, but I am sure that the worthy head of it, the Honorable Horace Plunkett, who has taken such an intense interest in everything that can promote and foster the industries of Ireland, will be glad to receive the support of the Irish millers. As a body, let us show him that we appreciate his efforts by being present at the Conference in Cork. Southern hospitality is proverbial, and I am sure that the Cork millers will give their brother “dusties” from all parts of Ireland a hearty welcome.
I remember that in 1886, a very lively discussion took place in the Cork newspapers on the question of foreign versus home-made flour, in which Mr George Hodder, Honorary Secretary of the South of Ireland Millers’ Association, took a prominent part. If this association is still in existence, it would be very fitting for them to organize the “millers’ share” of the Conference and invite the attendance of all Irish millers.
Should you be disposed to visit Cork and take part in the Conference, and if you think I can be of any assistance in the matter, a letter stating your views addressed to “Miller” care of the Secretary, Corn Exchange, Dublin, shall receive my best attention and be the means of putting me in touch with those who think the matter is worthy of notice, and arranging for “local” meetings of millers to consider the question.
Limerick Echo – Tuesday 14 October 1902Letters To The Editor: Limerick Echo October 14 1902