EEC butter will be available to Irish customers at a reduced price but will everyone be able to get their fair share?

At 9 am on 2 December 1977, 2,000 tonnes of European Economic Community (EEC) butter will go on sale in Ireland at the reduced price of 29 pence for a pound. This is a reduction from the usual 50 to 54 pence a pound.

There's enough of this butter in the country for every man woman and child to get a pound and a half a piece.

The cheap butter is distinguished by a special parchment wrapper marked with the name of the creamery that made it. The wrapper also clearly states,

Christmas Butter, maximum retain price 29 pence per pound.

One of the problems with the scheme is that many of the smaller groceries do not yet have their supplies of the butter. Wholesalers are having difficulties allocating them the butter as they do not keep a record of what the traders normally get.

So they can’t give it out fairly on a quota system as they should.

To confuse matters further

Some of the big supermarkets are operating a coupon system, some shops are rationing the butter and some are even giving it away free with other groceries and some others have made no arrangements at all.

There are worries that not everyone will be able to get their fair share of the cheap butter. Jim O’Reilly of the Retail Grocery Dairy & Allied Trades Association (RGDATA) would be happier if the scheme never happened. He wants all grocers to receive their fair allocation of butter to ensure,

Every regular customer is satisfied.

He feels some people will miss out on the cheap butter but is keen to point out that this problem will not be the fault of family grocers.

An RTÉ News report broadcast on 1 December 1977. The reporter is Paddy Smith.