TD finds it ‘Extraordinary that Wool is Classified as a Waste Product’

Independent TD for Galway West Catherine Connolly has told the Dáil that she finds it “extraordinary that wool is classified as a waste product.”

This observation is coming at a time when shearing is being completed on many farms across the country, and when farmers may have selected it as a payable action under the new National Sheep Welfare Scheme.

Deputy Connolly told Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine (DAFM) Senator Pippa Hackett last week that wool is being wasted as she said it is being classified as “a waste product.

The Galway TD explained that a variety of alternative uses for wool exist, ranging from “insulation to medical products and cosmetics.”

“This is a golden opportunity, no more than that of seaweed, for a sustainable industry, particularly along the west coast.

“How do we get from classifying wool as waste, and farmers being paid absolutely nothing, to achieving a thriving industry?” Connolly asked.

Deputy Connolly added that she was “not sure whether the wool council, with its two interim chairs, is the right mechanism” to achieve a thriving industry.

Minister Hackett told Deputy Connolly that to-date, a total of €15,383 has been drawn down by the Irish Grown Wool Council, and that “a further claim” has been submitted to the DAFM and is “currently being processed.”

The minister explained that following a feasibility report in 2022, it recommended the establishment of an industry-led all-island council to champion the Irish-grown brand.

“As we established the independent review, which recommended that the best way to explore the opportunities for Irish-grown wool is through the establishment of the council, we must, at this stage, support the council in everything it does,” Minister Hackett said.

Deputy Connolly said: “As for the wool council, I am on record as saying the whole thing is very woolly.

“It is now 2024. It took up to July 1, 2022 to get the report. It took another length of time to establish a council. There was an interim chair and now there is another interim chair.

“We are still wondering whether there is a demand but, in the 21st century, having declared a climate and biodiversity emergency, the obvious answer is to build sustainable industries around wool, along with seaweed, to empower local people to live sustainably and also to give an alternative to our utter reliance on foreign direct investment,” Deputy Connolly added.

(Source: Agriland)

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