Irish Grown Wool Council (IGWC) AGM 2024

10 months after its formation the Irish Grown Wool Council held its first AGM at the Athlone Springs Hotel on Friday, 16th February 2024. Re-elected and newly elected members and their working groups are outlined below:

Irish Grown Wool Council Members at 16th February 2024

Management Committee:

Governance & Funding (Working Group):

Education & Outreach + Brand & Marketing (Working Group):

Research & Development (Working Group):

Wool Quality & Presentation (Working Group):

2nd June 2024 update:
Alison Gault has been appointed Interim Chair of the Irish Grown Wool Council.

1st March 2024 update:
Catherine Phibbs has been appointed Interim Chair of the Irish Grown Wool Council 1st March – 1st June 2024.

An all-island Irish Grown Wool Council, IGWC, was formed by bringing together stakeholders from both sides of the border to focus on improving the Irish wool sector. Working together to establish and further benefit the sector for the wider good. The clear and concise brief is to create additional value in the total wool value chain and ensure that a fair proportion of that value makes it way to the primary producer.

The Irish Grown Wool Council Vision
Bringing wool stakeholders across the island of Ireland together to realise the potential of Irish Grown Wool as a natural, sustainable and versatile material, by building on its rich heritage, enhancing the understanding and appreciation of the characteristics of Irish grown wool, improving the quality and sustainability of Irish farmed wool, facilitating collaboration in product and market research and ultimately applying innovative product solutions.
The ‘Department of Agriculture, Food, and the Marine; Review of Market Opportunities for Irish Grown Wool Based Products 2022 report states that across the world, natural fibres are receiving attention for their sustainability and unique natural properties. Sheep’s wool is no exception and is one of the natural and renewable resources widely used in a range of applications and a unique composition that makes it applicable to many markets including horticulture, packaging, insulation, textiles, cosmetics, filled products and composites.

Wool is currently seen as an undervalued by-product of lamb meat production in Ireland, and it costs more to shear a sheep than would be received in revenue for the fleece. When additional costs, such as scouring (cleaning) the fleece is factored in, it currently makes for an uneconomic business model. The Irish Grown Wool Council is now looking forward to progressing the opportunities that exist to develop products from sheep’s wool. Technical expertise is required to support these developments.

Additionally, as also recommended in the DAFM report, a wool research and innovation hub (‘R&I Hub’) has also been created. Initially it is being facilitated by Circular Bioeconomy Cluster Southwest at Munster Technological University, MTU Tralee. The Irish Grown Wool Council will direct and support the R&I Hub. The R&I Hub will provide research, development and innovation support to farmers, sole traders, enterprises and those wishing to make best use of this natural Irish grown resource. Through these developments the Irish Grown Wool Council aims to add value right across the supply chain from farm to end product.

Minister’s Statement in 2023
Minister Pippa Hackett, who commissioned the Review of Market Opportunities for Irish Grown Wool Based Products and secured €30,000 seed funding for the formation of the Council, commented: 

“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 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. I am delighted to see such a broadly based membership of the Council, and, in particular, I warmly welcome the all-island membership of the Council, with stakeholders from north and south of the border represented on the Council.”

Minister Pippa Hackett, Minister of State for Land Use and Biodiversity in the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

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