Irish Grown Wool Council
I’m delighted with the formation of the Irish Grown Wool Council and the establishment of a wool research and innovation hub. These were key recommendations made in the wool feasibility study I commissioned, and are significant milestones in the future of wool.
The formation of the Irish Grown Wool Council is a hugely significant milestone for the development of the Irish wool industry and for the creation of a strong Irish grown wool brand, and I would like to congratulate everyone involved.
I welcome the broad membership base and the all-island membership of the council, with stakeholders from north and south of the border represented. I commissioned the department report and secured €30,000 to fund the establishment of the council.
The hub is being facilitated by the Circular Bioeconomy Cluster Southwest at Munster Technological University (MTU), Tralee.
The hub, which will be directed and supported by the wool council, will provide research, development and innovation support to farmers, sole traders, enterprises and those wishing to make best use of wool.
These developments are aiming to add value across the supply chain from farm to end product.
The members of the first IGWC were selected by stakeholders at a meeting in the Athlone Springs Hotel on the 5th of April.
The all-island council brings together industry representatives from both sides of the border to improve and realise the potential of the Irish wool sector.
The members of the Irish Grown Wool Council include the following:
Chris Weiniger, Donegal Yarns;
Eve Savage, education and outreach manager Circular Bioeconomy Cluster South West, Munster Technological University (MTU);
Sean McNamara, Irish Cattle and Sheep Farmers’ Association (ICSA) National Sheep chair;
Lorna McCormack, director, Wool in School;
Sean Moriarty, Kerry Lamb and Wool Co-op;
Pheilim Molloy, Irish Natura and Hill Farmers’ Association (INHFA);
Clare McGovern, Rhyme, sustainable Irish wool designer;
Sandra King, Irish Fibre Crafters;
David Heraty, Irish Sheep Shearers Association (ISSA) and Romney Flock;
Jane Harkness Bones, Ulster Wool;
George Graham, ISSA Shearing Training and Farm Safety;
John Joe Fitzgerald, hill sheep farmer;
Deborah Evers, strategic planning and communications (previously Project BAA BAA);
Tom Dunne, ISSA Independent;
Kevin Dooley, Dooley Wool Merchants;
Kevin Comiskey, Irish Farmers’ Association (IFA) National Sheep chair;
Pat Coffey, Coffey Wool Exports;
Matthew Carroll, Suck Valley Farm, Galway Wool Co-op;
Fergal Byrne, ICSA Organic chair;
Daryl McLaughlin (Alastair Armstrong), Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU);
Pat Byrne, facilitator, The Agile Executive.
The group will help promote wool as a natural, sustainable and versatile material and help improve the quality of Irish farmed wool and facilitate collaboration in product and market research.
Last year, a report from my Department stated that natural fibres are being recognised across the world for their sustainability and unique properties.
Due to its unique composition, sheep’s wool can be used in multiple of ways including horticulture, packaging, insulation, textiles, cosmetics, filled products and composites.
I look forward to working with the council over the coming months and years to further the value proposition of Irish wool and to realise the enormous potential of Irish grown wool as a natural, sustainable and versatile material.