Dublin Food Supply Company 1916

One of the legacies of 1916 in Dublin was the increased price of food and milk. By the year’s end, due to poor supply and profiteering, this became a crisis. In December 1916, a committee was formed whose object was the supply of cheap food to the poor of Dublin in difficulties due to either the Great War or the ‘local Irish situation’. Jesuit Tom Finlay, who had previously worked with Sir Horace Plunkett in the Irish Agricultural Organisation Society, established the Dublin Food Supply Company (1916-1926) at a meeting in the Royal Hibernian Academy, Lincoln Place.

The following individuals became part of the Dublin Food Supply Company committee: Lady Frances Moloney (Chairperson) (in 1918, she became one of the founders of the Missionary Sisters of St Columban), Miss Conroy, Miss Janet Cunningham, Mrs Wilson, Mrs Cogan, Mrs O’Brien, Mr McKee, Mr Fallon, Mr Desmond O’Brien, Mr Cruise O’Brien, Mr Michael J. Dillon and Mr W.A. Ryan.

It was agreed that 4 Killarney Street (later transferred to 10 Lower Gloucester Street) should be taken temporarily as a shop, from Monday 18 December 1916. The society had £137 in their account and Fr Tom Finlay SJ was able to source ten gallons of milk, Lady Moloney secured a half a ton of potatoes and Mr O’ Brien, bags for the potatoes from IAWS. The milk crisis of 1917 resulted in the Corporation of Dublin requesting that the Dublin Food Supply Company take over the distribution of the milk supply previously provided by them. By 1918, depots where food and milk could be bought were located at: Grattan Street; Francis Street (later transferred to 88 Thomas Street); North King Street and Old Camden Street. By 1924, further properties were bought at Gloucester Place Upper; Middle Gardiner Street and No. 1 Pimlico, parish of St. Catherine, city of Dublin to ‘carry on business solely for the purpose of supplying to the poor, all or any manner of household supplies at such a price and no greater over and above the wholesale price as will cover rents and other costs of distribution’. In February 1925, the Dublin Food Supply Company was running a deficit and the falling off in trade due to the business depression resulted in the ceasing of operations n 1926.