The feasibility of a scouring plant for wool in Ireland was among the topics of discussion in a meeting held by stakeholders in the industry.
Put together by the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers Association (ICSA), it involved primary producers, merchants and the textile industry.
It was agreed that the possibility of a plant to cleanse wool making it suitable for textile use would be further investigated.
At present, Irish wool is exported to the UK to be scoured and the group feared this could become more problematic post-Brexit.
The focus of the meeting was to bring together the Irish wool industry with a view to increasing its potential and increasing the return to sheep farmers for their wool.
ICSA sheep chair Sean McNamara said all stakeholders agreed that the status of wool must be elevated so that it is viewed as a unique and valued natural resource.
Under current EU guidelines, wool is classified as a waste product.
“Over five million kilogrammes of wool are produced in this country annually and we must endeavour to put it all to good use,” ICSA organics chair Fergal Byrne said.
Byrne said wool had to be considered an important commodity that can generate jobs in a green economy, while providing financial benefit to sheep farmers.
“The reality is the future should be bright for wool. We do not want to see a repeat of scenes earlier this year when farmers had no choice but to dump wool when we know there is a variety of different uses that it can be put to,” he said.
“Together as a group we are determined that this environmentally friendly natural resource no longer goes to waste,” Byrne concluded.
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