Minister Hackett Must do More on Wool Issue

IFA Sheep Chairman Kevin Comiskey said Minister Pippa Hackett must do more to resolve the collapse in wool prices.

He was speaking after a meeting with British Wool in Bradford in England last week.

He said the industry in the UK has led in developing a brand through British Wool and maximised the value of wool for UK farmers, and lessons need to be learned from this approach.

“Despite the undeniable environmental credentials of wool for upgrading from a waste material to a renewable resource for the production of multiple products, Minister Hackett spent €100,000 on a study that merely told us what everybody in the sector already knew and since the publication of the report has gone silent on the issue,” he said.

He said the Minister failed to take advantage of the opportunity to support farmers for shearing costs, and in the presentation of wool to optimise its potential, through supports in the Sheep Improvement Scheme in the CAP and subsequently in the budget.

Kevin Comiskey has called for the immediate convening of the Sheep Industry Group recommended in the report to advance the process of adding value to the wool we produce and to put the structures in place that rewards farmers for this environmentally sustainable raw material.

He said there are huge opportunities to develop a unique brand for Irish Wool and this work must commence immediately.

“Discussions with British Wool show what can be achieved where a co-ordinated approach with Government support is provided in the promotion, marketing and processing of wool. These are systems and structures that can and must be replicated for Irish wool,” he concluded.

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