U2-backed Music Generation is set for a value-for-money review

U2-backed Music Generation is set for a value-for-money review

U2's Bono taking part in the annual Christmas Eve busk on Grafton Street, Dublin, in 2018. The band could be among those quizzed as part of a review of the public funding provided to Music Generation. Picture: Lorraine O'Sullivan/PA

Bono and U2 could be among those quizzed as part of a review of the public funding provided to the Music Generation programme which the band backs.

As well as receiving millions of euro in funding from U2 since launching in 2010, the programme — which teaches children how to perform and play musical instruments — has also received more than €15m from the Government in the last five years.

A review is expected to begin shortly into the use of public funding for the programme, with the Department of Education already seeking out a prospective independent reviewer.

U2, alongside the Ireland Funds philanthropy network, has provided millions of euros in funding for the programme since it launched.

Music Generation has undergone a significant expansion over the last few years, with plans to extend into more counties and locations in the years to come.

In a recent strategic plan, Bono described the programme's vision: 

What we want to do is really simple. We just want to make sure that everyone, whatever their background, gets access to music tuition. That's the idea. 

A tendering document, published by the Department of Education, says that the review will "consider the contextual role of philanthropy and inputs from other stakeholders and funders towards achieving the overall objectives of the Music Generation programme".

Members of Wexford Factory and Music Generation taking part in an event in St Mary's Day Care Centre, Tagoat, Co Wexford last week. Music Generation has undergone a significant expansion of its activities in recent years. Picture: Patrick Browne
Members of Wexford Factory and Music Generation taking part in an event in St Mary's Day Care Centre, Tagoat, Co Wexford last week. Music Generation has undergone a significant expansion of its activities in recent years. Picture: Patrick Browne

It also states that the review should ultimately "address whether there is effective use of funds and value achieved in how they are applied, whether this is the optimal use of resources and providing, to the extent possible, a comparison of the benefits and costs of the intervention".

A spokesperson for the Department of Education confirmed that it is currently tendering for an independent reviewer. They said that a review of Ireland's local music education partnership model had last taken place in 2007.

"Given the expansion of the activities of Music Generation and the increased funding from the Department of Education to the Music Generation programme over the past number of years, it is timely that a further independent evaluation should now take place," the spokesperson said.

The review, similar to other reviews of Exchequer-funded programmes, will determine how the Department of Education public funding of Music Generation is spent and utilised, and whether it is the optimal approach to achieving the objectives of the programme. 

A spokesperson for Music Generation said: "We are aware of the evaluation process."

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