IGWC response on use of 60% Irish grown wool in recent campaign

IGWC response on use of 60% Irish grown wool in St.Patrick’s Day international campaign

The Irish Grown Wool Council’s (IGWC) St.Patrick’s Day campaign has been transparent from the outset about the percentage of Irish wool used in these gifts. 60% fine Irish wool was sourced from farms across the island of Ireland for use in these garments.

“This percentage is important to emphasise because one of the key challenges for the Irish wool sector is that the majority of Irish grown wool from our sheep breeds is greater than 30 microns in fibre diameter, making it a coarser fibre and largely unsuitable for 100% use in apparel (except for select breeds). However, the majority of the 4m sheep in Ireland are a mix of breeds and mixed breeds. Therefore we wanted to highlight that the market opportunity for the majority of Irish grown wool when being used in wearable textiles will be blending Irish grown wool with other lower micron count wool. This has the potential to create a viable new channel for using more Irish grown wool in this market.

Catherine Phibbs, Interim Chair, Irish Grown Wool Council

IGWC member Chris Weiniger, General Manager, Donegal Yarns adds “From the outset we wanted transparency and to emphasise the importance of identifying the reality of the state of Irish wool and the challenges and opportunities for an all-Ireland approach to working collectively to support industry from the primary producer right through the supply chain.”

The Irish Grown Wool Council in conjunction with its research partners at the Wool Hub are also investigating innovation in wool scouring methods that will explore softening Irish-grown wool for greater use across wider categories. Our recent Wool Panel talks at Showcase Ireland in January (available to watch on our website and YouTube channel outline the potential for innovation in scouring methods. The IGWC is currently in discussions with key stakeholders about the economic potential for a scouring facility on the Island of Ireland and ways to realise this for sustainable and commercial development of Irish-grown wool.

We would invite people to review the 2022 ‘DAFM Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine; Review of Market Opportunities for Irish Grown Wool Based Products’ report below (page 28 in particular reference to this issue) to understand fully the complex challenges and opportunities for the Irish-grown wool sector.

The Irish Grown Wool Council are happy to engage directly to discuss challenges, opportunities and supports for the Irish-grown wool sector and its primary producers.

Catherine Phibbs, Interim Chair, Irish Grown Wool Council