Canney supports calls for development of wool industry

Independent Galway East TD Sean Canney is supporting calls for the development of the wool industry in Ireland.

The deputy said: “As a product wool is natural, it is carbon friendly and it is renewable.

“There are many products that can be produced from wool, for example clothes, fabrics and insulation.

We need to take control of this industry, develop products, support businesses involved in developing by-products and initiate the development of a scouring plant in Ireland.

Currently, wool is exported to the UK for this process, and groups such as the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) is warning that this may become more problematic due to Brexit.

Jobs in the wool industry

“Over five million kilograms of wool is produced annually. A product that is an environmentally friendly natural resource which has the potential to create sustainable jobs in the regions,” said Canney.

“It can provide a reasonable price for farmers if we can produce products relevant to the Irish market.

I know that the programme for government has a line in it committing to reviving the wool industry. We need to get industry up off the floor as there is great potential in it for regional Ireland and sheep farmers.

Recently the ICSA met with figures from the wool industry with the aim of “charting a way forward” for the sector.

The talks involved primary producers, merchants and those in the textile industry.

The discussion explored the feasibility of a scouring plant in Ireland, and it was agreed that this should be “further investigated”.

Price of wool

Last year, quotes for lowland-type wool were in around 50c/kg, with some farmers getting up to as much as 70c/kg.

This year, the wool market has been severely affected by the outbreak of Covid-19; however, prices have been on the decline for a long time now.

Earlier this summer, AgriLand spoke to a couple of wool merchants to get a feel for what wool might be worth this year.

Most merchants were quoting between 10c/kg and 20c/kg for lowland wool, with hill-type wool as good as worthless.