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Pioneer Total Abstinence Association established

The Pioneer Total Abstinence Association of the Sacred Heart was founded by Fr. James Cullen in the Church of Saint Francis Xavier, Dublin, on the 28th December 1898. Its aim was to reduce the damaging effects of excess alcohol consumption on the lives of Irish people. In many working class homes alcohol was the greatest drain on the weekly earnings of the family. Irish churches worried about not only the economic, but also the social and moral impact of alcohol abuse in the country.

Members of the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association had to promise never to drink alcohol and wore a badge to show they were Pioneers. Thousands of people joined up and by 1910, the association had around 100,000 members.

Protestant churches had their own temperance organisations such as the Protestant Total Abstinence Union. Many churches campaigned hard for restrictions on the sale of alcohol. In 1906, the Belfast Corporation issued temperance posters around the city.

Pledge book of the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association.
Deputy Keeper of Records, PRONI CR5/11C/1