Using wool in construction: Proposals put forward ‘will be considered’

Proposals in relation to new or alternative uses for raw wool from the industry will be considered, Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue has confirmed.

The minister was responding to a parliamentary question on the matter from Fine Gael TD Brendan Griffin, who asked if research has been conducted on the potential for wool to be used for alternative purposes to clothing, such as insulation and fertiliser.

It was also asked whether the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine will engage with wool producers to “discuss alternative markets and diversification in the context of current difficulties with the Chinese market”.

In his response, Minister McConalogue said: “Wool production is an important component of agri-industry and Ireland produces excellent quality wool.

In an industry such as the wool industry where prices tend to move in cycles, it is imperative that the players ensure and promote a diversity of options for the product in the marketplace.

“The current market uncertainties should provide an impetus for the industry players to come together to see what business opportunities are out there and try to promote the excellent product in as many markets as possible.

“While I am not considering the establishment of any research on wool in relation to new or alternative uses for raw wool, I will of course consider any proposals that the industry wishes to submit to me in this regard.”

Welsh wool

In the UK, Welsh farming organisation NFU Cymru received a letter from the Welsh Minister for Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, Lesley Griffiths, following calls for wool to be better utilised in future building works.

In her response, the minister stated that the Welsh government’s own facilities management team has committed to considering the widespread use of wool across the Welsh government’s estates in the future.

NFU Cymru Livestock Board Committee chairman Wyn Evans said:

We welcome the rural affairs minister’s recent commitment on this matter and the union looks forward to discussing this issue in further detail during our scheduled meeting next week, where we hope to learn more about what this commitment means in practice and what tangible benefit there will be for Welsh sheep farmers.

“I believe there is a real opportunity here for the Welsh government to lead the way in this area, and NFU Cymru remains eager to work with the Welsh government to explore future opportunities to prioritise the use of Welsh wool in more public buildings and housing projects in Wales.”