The wool feasibility report has recommended the establishment of an industry-led all-island council to champion the Irish-grown wool brand.

The long-awaited “Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Review of Market Opportunities for Irish Grown Wool Based Products” has today (Friday, July 1) been published.

It has been produced by ‘The Agile Executive’; a consortium of experts from Munster Technological University (MTU) and Donegal Yarns.

The group was appointed last November by Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine Charlie McConalogue and was tasked with identifying market opportunities domestically and internationally for wool-based products.

The minister also asked the group to examine potential research projects and carrying out economic feasibility and cost benefit analysis on proposed market opportunities.

Wool council

In its report, ‘The Agile Executive’ explains that the proposed ‘wool council’ would be tasked with developing and promoting Irish produce domestically and internationally.

It recommends that the council should include a mixture of farmers and stakeholders, including successful commercial enterprises who should be willing to fund research and promotions.

The report outlines that membership of the voluntary council would also generate funding.

The council would be responsibile for supporting the commercial scaling of micro-enterprises through collaboration and mentoring.

The expert-group adds that a “key enabler for success” will be the roll-out of a ‘wool hub‘.

This will allow for collaboration between researchers and commercial entities and an independent testing facility in order to set standards for Irish wool products.

It will also develop a system of traceability for wool that is sent abroad for scouring and further processing so that provenance is protected at all stages in the value chain.

The report also recommends that an awareness campaign is run in schools and elsewhere to promote Irish-grown wool products.

Roscommon sheep farmers

Welcoming the publication of the report, Minister Charlie McConalogue said:

“Delivering on a commitment in the programme for government, this important report provides a valuable resource for industry, and I look forward to working with Ministers [Pippa] Hackett and [Martin] Heydon in helping the sector to develop in line with the recommendations outlined.

“I hope the report will be used by the sector to help chart an exciting future of the wool sector,” he stated.

Minister of State for Agriculture with special responsibility for land use and biodiversity, Senator Pippa Hackett added:

“I now call on stakeholders and industry to come together to form a wool council that will lead the industry collaboration and innovation needed to develop and promote Irish wool domestically and internationally.

“Following the formation by industry of a wool council representative of a broad range of stakeholders, our department will provide financial assistance of €30,000 towards the initial set-up costs,” Hackett added.