U2 will donate €5m to a national music tuition programme which will offer children and young people the opportunity to learn a musical instrument and/or avail of vocal tuition.
The Ireland Funds will begin a campaign to raise a further €2m for the scheme, which will be administered by Music Network and introduced nationwide on a phased basis from 2010 to 2015.
Commenting, U2’s The Edge said: “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.”
The Minister for Education and Science, Batt O’Keeffe, said, “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.”