Music Generation, the national music education programme for young people, received expressions of interest from all 34 local authorities following its success here.
Music Generation director Rosaleen Molloy said the national response had surpassed all expectations and U2, who have put €5 million into the project, with the rest coming from the Ireland Fund, were “overwhelmed” by the response.
“They just see the value of their investment paying dividend. They are thrilled with it,” she said.
Ms Molloy did not rule out approaching U2 or the Ireland Fund for more money given the level of interest involved.
U2 became involved when they realised only 1 per cent of Irish secondary school students had access to the type of music education they had when they attended Mount Temple comprehensive school.
Ms Molloy said it was not only the interest that was extraordinary but the fact that so many local partnerships were prepared to put €200,000 in cash or in kind to match the Music Generation offer.
“The majority have had to come up with hard cash, which is fascinating in the difficult times that we are in,” she said. “Somehow these music education partnerships, because of the will at local level and the interest, have found the means to come up with the matched income.”
The scheme was set up when a successful Music Network pilot, which funded an expanded musical education programme in Donegal and Dublin, could not be rolled out nationally because of a lack of funding.
Under the scheme, it is hoped 10,000 children will get musical tuition up to 2015.
Ms Molloy said the €7 million amounted to “seed money” for music education in Ireland. “The country is talking about music education at the moment. You can’t put a monetary value on it.”
Sligo County Council is now following the Donegal example.