ICSA Sheep chair Sean McNamara has said he is hopeful that 2023 will see a reversal of fortune for the wool sector. “For years wool has been shamefully underappreciated and undervalued. In 2023 I am hopeful that we can turn that on its head and drive on with championing Irish wool for the valuable natural resource that it is.”
Mr McNamara said progress has been made with the establishment of the Wool Council. Following its inaugural meeting he said, “It was great to see so many stakeholders gathered – all focused on breathing life back into the wool industry. As well as farmer representatives and Department of Agriculture personnel the group comprised merchants and representatives from the textile industry, many of whom came from ICSA’s wool steering group established in 2020. Our focus then, as it is now, was on devising ways to highlight the potential of the wool industry while at the same time increasing the return to sheep farmers for their wool.
The Wool Feasibility Study identified a wealth of uses for wool which span across a whole range of sectors. Going forward wool must be considered an important commodity that can – and should – generate jobs in the green economy and be of financial benefit to farmers. It is now the job of ICSA and others on the Wool Council to ensure this happens. As a group we are determined that this environmentally friendly natural resource never again goes to waste.”
Mr McNamara said it was regrettable that a wool action has not been included in the new the Sheep Improvement Scheme. “As part of ICSA’s CAP proposals we sought a payment for shearing and presenting clean, dry wool for onward use. This is something that will need to be revisited as our plans for wool must start from the ground up. A payment of this kind would provide a solid foundation for everything the Wool Council is trying to achieve, and it’s something that ICSA will continue to campaign for.”