Music Generation director ‘overawed’ by €2m U2 donation
Rosaleen Molloy says gift brings goal of universal musical education a step closer
U2 perform at the Ziggo Dome in Amsterdam as part of their 2015 tour. The band said it will give the profits from its Irish concerts to Music Generation. Photograph: Paul Bergen/AFP/Getty Images
The Edge with Kgomotso Ngwenya, from Music Generation Laois in January 2013. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill/The Irish Times
Music Generation has said a €2 million donation from U2 has brought its goal of a universal musical education for every Irish child a step closer.
The band announced on Monday that it will give the profits from its Irish concerts to Music Generation which provides a musical education for some 26,000 children across the country.
Music Generation director Rosaleen Molloy said she was “overawed and thrilled” by the size of the donation from the band. “We did know about the donation but we didn’t know how substantial it would be,” she said.
The band gave €5 million from their last Irish shows in 2009 towards the start of the project which began in 2010.
To date Music Generation, which funds instruments and music lessons for children who could otherwise not afford it, is in 12 local authority areas. Ms Molloy declared that their intention was to use the €2 million to fund partnerships in other local authority areas and ultimately to all 34 local authorities.
U2 stepped in after the Government stated in 2009 it could not afford to roll out a pilot musical education project nationwide because of the recession.
Music Generation has reached more than 26,000 children and young people in 12 areas of the country (Carlow, Clare, Cork City, Laois, Louth, Limerick City, Mayo, Sligo, South Dublin, Offaly/Westmeath and Wicklow) in addition to creating some 330 employment opportunities, mainly for musicians to deliver tuition.
It has established 12 instrument banks, five music libraries and five recording studios.
Ms Molloy said the donation demonstrated the band’s commitment to Irish music education. It is something that they “really believe in”, she suggested.
U2 agreed to fund the scheme up to this year with the Government taking over the long-term funding of Music Generation.
Ms Molloy said the Government “have absolutely delivered on that” commitment to step forward once funding allowed.
The contribution to sustain the programme on an ongoing basis will be €2.45 million with local music education partnerships raising the other €2.2 million mostly through local authority funding.
She said a musical education was a matter of “cultural entitlement” and the ultimate goal was to ensure that every child in Ireland who wanted a musical education could avail of one.
“U2’s ultimate vision for music education in Ireland is for universal access for every child and young person across the whole country. Music Generation shares in this vision,” she said.
U2 have also raised the possibility that Music Generation students may be involved in the Dublin shows in some way, though the details have yet to be worked out.