Major Philanthropic Gift for Music Announced

21 July 2009

€7 million donated to music education in Ireland Music Education Project to Roll Out Nationally

Music Network is delighted to announce a major philanthropic gift to be invested in music education in Ireland. €5 million has been donated by U2 and a further €2 million pledged by The Ireland funds to allow a national system of music education provision to be rolled out between 2010 and 2015.

With funding from the Arts Council, Music Network has over the last number of years been working to raise awareness of the value of music education, and of the need for enhanced provision through a national system of local music education services. A model developed by Music Network (as recommended in the Music Network report A National System of Local Music Education Services—Report of a Feasibility Study 2003) set out to make music education available to all children of the state irrespective of their geographical location and their social and economic circumstances. The model is widely agreed to be a workable and cost efficient solution.

"This gift allows us to implement a planned, integrated approach to music education at a national level so that the potential and talent of our young people can be developed. The roll-out of our model will make an important contribution to music in Ireland, and to educational provision generally," Deirdre McCrea Music Network CEO explains.

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."

Music Network will administer the scheme, which will be rolled out on a phased basis, in a number of new locations each year, beginning in 2010 and including all musical genres. Involvement in the scheme 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.

If you or your group would like to be included in the tender process, please send your contact details to admin@musicnetwork.ie and we will be in touch with you in due course.

/ENDS

For media enquiries only, please contact: Louise Walsh Marketing & PR Manger, Music Network
Phone: (01) 6719429/ 087 649 0818
Email: pr@musicnetwork.ie