Sean McNamara of the ICSA.

ICSA welcome launch of Irish Grown Wool Council

The ICSA have fought hard to make the newly established Irish Grown Wool Council a reality since the establishment of their Wool Steering Group in 2020 in response to the collapse of wool prices, their sheep committee chairman says.

Sean McNamara welcomed the official launch of the Irish Grown Wool Council (IGWC), and said the Wool Feasibility Study recommended that such a council be established.

The Lismacaffery sheep farmer is one of two ICSA officers elected to the council, along with the ICSA Organics chair Fergal Byrne.

Following the launch, Mr Byrne said: “The council is made up of a broad range of people involved in the wool sector – farmer representatives, shearers, merchants, crafters, representatives from industry, from textile manufacturing, as well as those engaged in research and education. Together we are focused on breathing life back into the wool sector while at the same time increasing the return to sheep farmers for their wool.”

Mr McNamara added: “Irish wool has been under-appreciated and undervalued for far too long. I am hopeful that the formation of the IGWC will signal a reversal of fortune for the sector.”

He said it remains regrettable that a wool action has not been included in the new the Sheep Improvement Scheme. “As part of ICSA’s campaign for greater supports for the sheep sector, we are seeking a payment for shearing and presenting clean, dry wool for onward use.

“The payment rate under the Sheep Improvement Scheme needs to be increased significantly and a wool action should form part of that process. Such a payment would also provide a solid foundation for everything the Wool Council is trying to achieve, and it’s something that ICSA will continue to campaign for.”