The announcement that a feasibility study on wool and wool products is being moved forward has been welcomed by the Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA).

Sean McNamara, the association’s Sheep Committee chairperson, was responding to the announcement that the survey would be commencing, starting with a consultation with stakeholders on the study’s terms and conditions.

“We are pleased to see this €100,000 initiative come to life. The downfall in price, particularly in 2020, was not only catastrophic for sheep farmers but it also resulted in so much of this valuable natural resource going to waste,” said McNamara.

This is something that must never be repeated.

“In response to wool prices going as low at 10c/kg and with farmers left with no option except to dump wool, ICSA established the Irish Wool Steering Group in early 2020, bringing together stakeholders from across the wool spectrum to find solutions and chart a way forward,” he added.

Meanwhile, ICSA organics chair Fergal Byrne added: “Thankfully, there are people right around the country who understand the value in what others wrongly class as a waste product.

“We have identified a wealth of uses for wool which span across a whole range of sectors and the priority now must be capturing that potential and delivering a viable return for sheep farmers,” he argued.

Our work so far has exposed how our domestic supplies of wool are vastly underused.

Byrne concluded: “However, it is clear there is massive scope to revitalise the entire wool industry here, and we look forward to working with Minister Hackett and other stakeholders to make sure that happens.”