U2 are to contribute €5 million to a new music training fund for children which is aimed at redressing inequality in music education in Ireland.
The Ireland Funds is also giving its backing to the scheme which aims to teach young people to play a musical instrument or to have their voice trained.
Deirdre McCrea, chief executive of non-profit organisation Music Network, which is administering the fund, said: “It is currently very inequitable that the opportunity to play music depends on your parents’ ability to afford that privilege, to buy musical instruments and to drive you to lessons.”
U2 guitarist the Edge said: “Being around music at a young age was important for us and we were lucky to have it at school.”
The band had been “looking for some time for a way to get involved in an initiative in music education in Ireland, he said in a statement. After speaking to various people about what to do, the band thought the scheme was “really well thought out” and that they should “get behind it”.
The Ireland Funds will also part-finance the scheme and is beginning a campaign to raise €2 million.
Ireland Funds chief executive Kingsley Aikens said there was a gap that had to be filled in this area for a country with such a reputation for music. Mr Aikens said he hoped that the Government would continue the scheme, but he was unable to get any guarantees yet.
Meanwhile, a tax campaign group in Ireland has labelled the U2 donation a ‘PR stunt’ to deflect criticism from the band’s decision to move some of its business to the Netherlands for tax reasons.
More on U2 and giving
- U2 contribute ‘Walk On’ to songs for Japan relief album (30 March 2011)
- Irish music stars sing for homeless charities (25 November 2018)
- U2 fans donate over £34,000 to mark Bono’s birthday (8 July 2007)