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U2 give to charity

RONAN McGREEVY:

U2 have given away the profits from their Irish concerts to charity, the band’s manager Paul McGuinness has revealed.

The
band donated €5 million from their three Croke Park concerts in 2009 to
Music Generation, a charity that provides funding for structured music
education across the country.

Their three Croke Park concerts in
2005 would probably have generated similar revenues, while the band also
played two concerts at Slane Castle in 2001.

Mr McGuinness said
it had been the band’s practice “going way, way back” to give the
profits away but it “was discreetly done in the past”.

He added:
“Obviously we cover what the concerts cost to produce and there’s been a
profit for a considerable time, and those profits have been distributed
here.”

New album on horizon 

He also confirmed that the band are working on a new album to follow up their last release, No Line on the Horizon.

“I’m hoping that they will finish the album soon and it will be out this year.”

U2
guitarist The Edge turned up yesterday for the announcement that the
Government will co-fund Music Generation from 2014 with a view to taking
over the funding of the project in 2016.

U2 stepped in after the
government stated in 2009 it could not afford to roll out a pilot
project nationwide. The band provided €5 million with an extra €2
million coming from The Ireland Funds, including a $1 million donation
(€760,000) from Bank of America.

Music Generation schemes are
operating in Cork city, Laois, Louth, Mayo, Sligo and Wicklow. The money
will allow for expansion into a further four areas: Offaly, Westmeath,
Carlow and Limerick city.

Some 5,000 children have benefited from it either through structured lessons or through the buying of instruments.

The
Edge said U2 had decided to lend its name to Music Generation because
it would “be enhanced by association” with the band. “In most cases it
isn’t, and it is not appropriate. In this case we really wanted to put
our names to this because we feel strongly about it.”

He said the
band had benefited from having music lessons in Mount Temple school,
where they had all met, and he hoped others would be able to do
likewise. “We also had the encouragement to use the music rooms when we
first formed the band,” he said. “At that stage none of the members of
the band had an idea where it would lead. We were just doing it because
it was fun. The chance to pass that opportunity on is important.

“There’s
been a tendency over the years for music not to be a top priority. The
great thing about Music Generation is that it is putting it back where
it should be as a top priority around the country.”