I propose to take Questions Nos. 696 and 697 together.
My Department, and the bodies under its aegis, provide a number of supports for music and musicians.
The Arts Council is the principal agency through which current funding is channelled to artists and arts organisations and has a wide number of schemes and initiatives in support of music. Details of the Council's funding of schemes and initiatives for the particular support of music can be found on its websites at the following link http://www.artscouncil.ie/Arts-in-Ireland/Music/. These include funding for a number of bursaries including a music bursary award to support professional artists to develop their art practice. I understand that applicants are only eligible to apply for such funding on reaching 18.
The National Concert Hall (NCH) has a programme for Musicians and Music Students that offers a variety of initiatives to develop young musicians. These include a range of competitive bursaries including the Young Musician’s Award for String Players, which is a fund of €10,000 awarded every second year and which is open to players between the ages of 13 -17; the Bernadette Greevy Bursary for singers, which is a €5,000 award, part-funded by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht; and the Jerome Hynes Composition Competition, which is a €2,000 bursary for young composers.
Funding has been also provided to the Veronica Dunne International Singing Competition which is a triennial international classical singing competition held in Dublin. This is an established Irish musical event of international standing which invites the most talented young singers to compete on this global stage, with a star-studded Jury, international press coverage and exposure to the most influential people in the industry.
The NCH offers a wide range of other initiatives designed to foster the development of young musicians. These include masterclasses and workshops presented by visiting artists; a development orchestra called SinfoNua; the Female Conductor Programme, a major new project encouraging women into the world of orchestral conducting; and a new summer programme, the International Master Course, for high-level students and emerging professionals. For younger musicians, the NCH also partners with the Royal Irish Academy of Music on the Primary Ensemble Project, a programme supporting the development of music ensembles in primary schools.
In addition, Creative Ireland's Creative Youth Plan, launched in December 2017, seeks to ensure that every child in Ireland has practical access to tuition, experience and participation in music, drama, art and coding by 2022. This Plan is being led by my Department, the Department of Education and Skills, the Department of Children and Youth Affairs and the Arts Council, all working in partnership. The Creative Schools programme is one of the key deliverables of the Creative Youth Plan. Following an open application process, 150 schools were selected for the pilot in the school year running from 2018 to 2019. These schools have approximately 38,000 pupils. Music is the focus of a number of the Creative Plans being developed by these schools in conjunction with their creative associates.
In addition to curricular provision for music at both primary and post-primary levels, the Department of Education and Skills currently supports the Music Generation initiatives, in respect of a wide number of local Music Education Partnerships (MEPs). I understand that Music Generation is being expanded nationwide over the period to 2022 and that they are currently in phase 2 of their three phase expansion plan.
Under the National Creativity Fund, developed under the Creative Ireland Programme, I recently announced the foundation of the first national youth orchestra for disabled musicians in Ireland - Le Chéile. This is a collaborative, inclusive and exciting step for the country’s musical youth; the orchestra will be developed through the Royal Irish Academy of Music’s (RIAM). Le Chéile will develop musical ensembles for young disabled musicians in every province in Ireland, culminating in the foundation of the Open Youth Orchestra of Ireland (OYOI) – the very first of its kind in Europe.
Funding to local authorities, under the Creative Ireland Programme in 2018, resulted in over 1200 events taking place across the county, of which over 120 were specially related to music events. A large number of these were specifically for children and young people.
In addition to the above, the following initiatives by my Department are targeted towards support for music.
- Annual funding is provided by my Department to Comhaltas Ceoltóirí Éireann (CCÉ) for its work in the protection and promotion of Irish traditional music and culture. CCÉ provides weekly classes at community level in all traditional instruments, singing, and dance through its network of centres and branches all over the country.
- The National Folk Theatre, Siamsa Tire, which receives annual funding from my Department, brings to life Irish folklore through music, song and dance.
- My Department provides funding for the purchase of equipment under the Music Capital Scheme to performing groups and individual talented musicians on an annual basis. The Scheme is managed by Music Network on behalf of my Department.
- Culture Ireland, provides supports for Irish artists and musicians to travel abroad and develop their careers.
I would also add that my Department provides funding to many different orchestras. In terms of music and ensuring that it is a vital part of cultural life in Ireland, my department provides funding for the cross border orchestra of Ireland and the peace proms. The Department provides annual funding to the Cross-Border Orchestra Peace Proms in which 20,000 children from 250 schools across the island of Ireland participate. The Proms provide a vital platform for young people to showcase their musical talent.
The Deputy may also note that last October I announced, with the Minister of State for Higher Education, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, joint funding of €9 million for the Royal Irish Academy of Music (RIAM) to assist in the re-development of its historic Westland Row premises. This is capital funding and is being provided under the National Development Plan 2018-2027 which commits to exchequer investments of €1.2 billion in our cultural heritage and €2.2 billion in Ireland’s higher education infrastructure over the coming decade. In this case my Department is allocating €3m to the project, with the Department of Education and Skills allocating €6m, to give a total exchequer contribution of €9m.
Support for music and musicians will continue to be a key focus of the supports provided by my Department and its agencies, and more broadly by Government in the context of the Creative Ireland programme.