March 14, 2024
Government ‘missed opportunity’ to gift all-Irish wool as part of St Patrick’s Day programme abroad – Claire Kerrane TD

Sinn Féin spokesperson on Agriculture, Claire Kerrane TD, has raised concerns that the Government has missed an opportunity to gift items made from all-Irish wool as part of the St Patrick’s Day programme abroad.
 
Reports state that this year’s campaign will see Government Ministers wearing and gifting Irish woollen blankets and scarves during their missions abroad for St Patrick’s Day.
 
However, it has been highlighted that the items will be made from up to 40% New Zealand-sourced wool.
 
The Government’s decision to use yarn which is mixed with wool from overseas represents a missed opportunity to display the potential of the Irish wool sector.
 
Speaking today, Teachta Kerrane said:
 
“On the face of it the campaign is positive in terms of showcasing the Irish wool sector by gifting blankets and scarves from the island – something which Ireland is known for internationally.
 
“We have a rich history of producing wool and woollen products, and that is something we should display proudly.
 
“However, it appears that the wool that is being used to gift these items is made from 40% New Zealand wool.
 
“I appreciate that yarn blends vary for clothing items and that the company which produces the yarn which has been used is Irish itself. However, the reality is the Government has missed an opportunity to gift items which are made completely with wool sourced from the island.
 
“As well as this, it is disingenuous to represent the wool used as ‘Irish’ when it is not entirely. I know from engaging with groups such as the Galway Wool Co-op that the use of wool sources from overseas is really disheartening, particularly when they are working so hard to reinvigorate and build the Irish wool sector.
 
“The Government has said repeatedly that they want to rebuild and support the Irish wool sector, but this decision flies directly in the face of that and sends a message which would indicate the contrary.
 
“If we are to support the Irish wool sector and Irish sheep farmers and showcase our potential overseas, that must start with using all-Irish wool.”

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