U2 and Ireland Funds To Finance National Music Programme

20 Jul 2009
U2 and The Ireland Funds announce today that they will finance a scheme to offer children and young people in Ireland the opportunity to learn a musical instrument and/or avail of vocal tuition. U2 will provide €5m to ensure the national rollout of the instrumental and vocal tuition elements on a phased basis to 2015. The Ireland Funds will begin a campaign to raise a further €2m. Music Network, a non-profit music services organisation will administer the scheme, which will be introduced nationwide on a phased basis from 2010-2015.

The scheme will support local education authorities throughout the country to engage music teachers to provide instrumental and vocal tuition to children and young people. The programme will be rolled out nationally and is based on two successful pilot schemes which have been running since 2004 by local Vocational Education Authorities in Donegal and Dublin.

The Edge, speaking on behalf of U2, says, 'Being around music at a young age was important for us and we were lucky to have it at school. We had been looking for some time for a way to get involved in an initiative in music education in Ireland. After talking to various people in Ireland about what to do, we came to the conclusion that the Music Network scheme is really well thought out and that we, in partnership with the Ireland Funds, should just get behind it.'

Loretta Brennan Glucksman, Chair of The American Ireland Fund says, 'Our goal is to stimulate philanthropy in Ireland and the scheme falls under two of our funding priorities - education and culture. We are thrilled to be part of a project which will bring the Music Network Scheme nationwide as it is a proven success and has wide-ranging support from Government as well as the music education establishment. We believe that the programme will make a huge contribution to music education in Ireland.'

The Minister for Education and Science, Batt O'Keeffe TD, says, 'I'm delighted that U2 and The Ireland Funds have agreed to join us as partners in progressing the music agenda in Ireland. We recognised the gaps in music education in 2001 when a feasibility study was commissioned to examine how a national system of publicly supported local music schools might be provided. The pilot schemes which Government has funded since 2004 will now provide the model to roll the scheme out nationally. We are very grateful for the support of U2 and The Ireland Funds for the programme over the next six years. It has the potential to create a true legacy for music education in Ireland.'

Deirdre McCrea, Chief Executive of Music Network says, 'The study that we carried out in 2003 identified serious gaps in Irish musical education and we have been working since then to advocate for a practical solution to address these gaps. The pilot schemes, run in Donegal and Dublin over the last four years with Department of Education and Science support, have demonstrated that our model is a viable one and we now look forward to rolling out the scheme successfully on a nationwide basis.'

As well as acting as co-funders, The Ireland Funds will administer the philanthropic gift.

Details of the rollout of the Music Education Scheme:
a. it will provide music teachers throughout the country, sometimes in fixed locations, sometimes operating on a peripatetic basis in a local area (not limited to county boundaries);
b. it will be rolled out on a phased basis, in a number of new locations each year, beginning in 2010; all kinds of musical performance will be served - classical, jazz, traditional and popular music;
c. it will be administered centrally by Music Network, which has a proven track record in running different music development initiatives (including , for example, a capital scheme to provide for instrument purchase) they will provide central services, coordination and quality assurance, and will be responsible for the governance of the scheme;
d. it will be offered on the basis of competitive tender: local interests (for example one or more local VECs and/or local authorities, local private music schools, parents groups etc.) will be invited to bid for a three-year subsidy to provide for the costs of teachers and local administration; they must show how they will generate matching resources locally, and how they will plan to make the scheme sustainable in the longer term;
e. local administrative and infrastructural resources (eg. classrooms, insurances etc), fees from participants and the non-exchequer funds provided by the donors respectively are each expected to make up one-third of the costs of delivering the scheme over the next five years.


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