On Tuesday, despite the severe weather, a large calf market took place in Abbeyfeale, with buyers and sellers coming from various places such as Athea, Glin, Ballylongford, Brosna, Rockchapel, Tournafulla, Mountcollins, Duagh, Dublin, Carlow, and Mullingar. In the butter market, concerns about the proposed water standard set by Cork merchants were raised by local butter makers. Many believe the proposed standard, which would reduce the water content in butter to 16 percent, is too low.
This change could potentially force many butter makers who cannot meet the restricted standards to send their produce to creameries or Cork merchants. The centralization of the trade would ultimately lead to a monopoly, enabling Cork merchants to dictate terms for themselves once competition from local markets, such as Abbeyfeale, Listowel, and Newcastle West, has been removed.
Although an improved demand for Irish butter in the English markets would result from the reduced standard, many local industries would face an uncertain future. Moreover, with the implementation of a good Land Bill, farmers could potentially adopt improved methods and machinery for proper butter production. However, challenges still remain, such as the risk of legal ramifications among those who would be forced to comply with lower water content levels. Ultimately, the proposed water standard raises concerns about the potential impact on the prosperity and existence of trade in country towns like Abbeyfeale.
Kerry News – Wednesday 25 March 1903