Written answers

Thursday, 31 March 2022

Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine

Agriculture Industry

Photo of Catherine ConnollyCatherine Connolly (Galway West, Independent)
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157. To ask the Minister for Agriculture, Food and the Marine further to Parliamentary Question No. 130 of 10 February 2022, the status of the wool feasibility study; the expected timeline for the development of a robust policy roadmap for the Irish wool industry; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [16766/22]

Photo of Charlie McConalogueCharlie McConalogue (Donegal, Fianna Fail)
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As the Deputy may be aware, one of the initiatives in the current Programme for Government was to conduct a review of the potential demand for wool-based products such as for insulation and fertilisers in domestic and international markets.

Wool is a natural substance that is sustainable, organic and renewable and it can be used in a variety of products such as textiles, fertilizer, and insulation, so it makes sense to investigate its potential.

In March 2021, I initiated a public consultation to identify terms of reference for this review.

The agreed terms of reference were:

- identification of market opportunities domestically and internationally for wool-based products;

- carrying out economic feasibility and cost benefit analysis on proposed market opportunities;

- determining mechanisms that could be used to support industry initiatives;

- identification of potential research projects applicable to supporting the identified market opportunities.

The respondents to the consultation were also asked to make recommendations on potential domestic and international market opportunities for wool products. Stakeholders submitted a total of 45 submissions.

The Request for Tenders (RFT) seeking service providers to carry out this study was published on 8thJuly 2021 through a competitive public procurement procedure and five tenders were received. In November 2021, I appointed 'The Agile Executive,' a consortium of experts from Munster Technological University and Donegal Yarns, to conduct this study.

The Agile Executive has been contracted to conduct the review in accordance with the Terms of Reference and has also been asked to review the submissions received during the public consultation process. The final report, following the conclusion of the review, will be published in the coming weeks.

I am confident that the this important review of the potential demand for wool based products and the recommendations in the upcoming report will aid the development of a strong policy framework for the Irish wool industry and will also identify new opportunities to develop value-added products from Irish wool that are both environmentally and economically sustainable, further contributing to the Irish Circular Bio-economy.


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