16 SEPTEMBER 2020
ICSA has today held discussions with leading figures in the Irish wool industry with the aim of charting a way forward for the wool sector with a specific focus on increasing the potential of the wool industry and increasing the return to sheep farmers for their wool.
Following the online meeting, ICSA sheep chair Sean McNamara said “Today’s gathering brought together stakeholders from across the wool spectrum. We were joined by primary producers, merchants and those in the textile industry. All were agreed that the status of wool must be elevated, and that it must be viewed as a unique and valued natural resource.”
ICSA organics chair Fergal Byrne added, “Over 5 million kg of wool are produced in this country annually and we must endeavour to put it all to good use. We are not satisfied that under current EU guidelines wool is classified as a waste product and believe that this must change. Going forward wool must be considered an important commodity that can generate jobs in the green economy and also be of 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.”
The group discussed the feasibility of a scouring plant for wool in Ireland and it was agreed that it should be further investigated. Currently wool is exported to the UK for this process and it may become more problematic in the context of Brexit.
“Together as a group we are determined that this environmentally friendly natural resource no longer goes to waste,” concluded Mr Byrne.