An industry-led wool council committed to in the wool feasibility study published in July must be convened as a “matter of urgency”, says the Irish Farmers Association (IFA).
IFA sheep chair Kevin Comiskey highlighted that the council, which has been promised €30,000 for set-up, has not yet been taken further by Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue and Minister of State for land use and biodiversity Pippa Hackett.
Comiskey said the “only real recommendation” within the €100,000 feasibility study into potential market opportunities and uses for Irish wool is the establishment of the wool council.
He said it would “develop and promote Irish wool domestically and internationally, bringing together stakeholders to foster collaboration, innovation and scaling activities”.
The IFA sheep chair said he has “witnessed first-hand” the benefits of a co-ordinated approach to developing and promoting markets and outlets for wool when he visited British Wool in September.
“British Wool’s co-ordinated approach has greatly benefited its farmer members and British wool typically trades well above Irish prices, helped by the structures in place,” he said.
The sheep farmer suggested there are “huge opportunities” to develop a unique brand for Irish wool and, most importantly, add value to this renewable product for sheep farmers.
“Discussions with British Wool show what can be achieved where a co-ordinated approach with Government support is provided in the promotion, marketing and processing of wool.
"These are systems and structures that can and must be replicated for Irish wool and the first steps are convening the wool council,” he said.