The Irish Natura and Hill Farmers’ Association (INHFA) has expressed concern over what it is referring to as an “apparent collapse” in the wool market.

The association warned that this represents a “deepening crisis” for sheep farmers.

Pheilim Molloy, the association’s vice-president, said this morning (Tuesday, November 8) that this collapse is “seeing agents unable to trade wool due to the further weakening of demand on international markets”.

“This is creating a major problem for many farmers who still have wool in their sheds and are now looking for shed space to house sheep and lambs for finishing.”

As a short term solution to this, Molloy called on the government and the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine to act in supporting farmers who find themselves unable to move existing wool.

“For the medium and long term we need action to ensure that a system is put in place to fully exploit the potential of wool across a range of various uses,” he added.

The INHFA vice-president also called for the government to arrange an immediate meeting of all stakeholders to progress the development on an “all-Ireland” wool industry.

“There is a feasibility report that can provide a road-map but the recommendations in this report will only ever be realised through active engagement and a sustainable plan.

“We have detailed how wool as a natural product can provide sustainable alternatives to many existing products which will contribute to the green and circular economy,” Molly commented.

He also called for Minister of State for land use and biodiversity Pippa Hackett to “use her influence to drive this forward”.

Similar concerns were raised by the Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) last month.

Kevin Comiskey, the association’s sheep chairperson, called on the minister to “do more to resolve the collapse in prices”.

Comiskey said that “lessons need to be learned” from the British wool industry for Ireland.

He said that the British Wool brand has maximised the value of the product for UK sheep farmers.

“Lessons need to be learned from this approach,” he commented.