It sounds strange, but critics of the time believed that tea drinking was suppressing economic growth in Ireland and should be seen as something reckless and out of control.
It was believed that women who drink tea did not behave better than alcoholics: they wasted time and money, shirking their main responsibilities: caring for children and home. It was believed that traditionally female responsibilities are vital to the progress of the national economy.
Tea was also believed to be a drug. People seriously thought that tea was addictive. In addition, in the 19th century, tea was not as cheap as it is now, and for poor women, drinking tea was considered an unacceptable luxury.