RTÉ orchestra should be part of National Concert Hall, says Minister

Report into its future had proposed National Symphony Orchestra should be a State entity

The RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra should be considered as part of the National Concert Hall, the Cabinet will hear on Thursday.

Minister for Culture Josepha Madigan is to bring a memo to the meeting responding to a recent review, carried out by former BBC director of radio Helen Boaden, on the sustainability of the national broadcaster's two orchestras.

It is understood the Government will agree that the symphony orchestra should not be established as a separate State entity, as had been proposed by the report.

However, Ms Madigan will ask Cabinet colleagues to “agree in principle” that it should come within the National Concert Hall.


In addition, it will be proposed that a new oversight group should be established to oversee the report’s recommendations, which will be chaired by the Department of Culture but will include RTÉ and the National Concert Hall.

The report was commissioned to examine a sustainable future for RTÉ’s orchestras.

Its main recommendation is that neither the symphony orchestra nor the RTÉ Concert Orchestra be closed, but that both should be brought up to full strength.

The report states RTÉ should “contribute funding to a newly independent National Symphony Orchestra in return for the right to broadcast its performances”.

The key recommendation on the future of the broadcaster’s direct employment of musicians is that the concert orchestra should remain within the fold and that it should become “a key means of RTÉ providing support for orchestral music – live and broadcast on television, radio and online”.

It is understood the Government is broadly in agreement with the other proposals contained in the report as it acknowledges there is a “heavy reliance on the two full-time orchestras”.

Ms Madigan is to outline the full decision after the meeting on Thursday, it is understood.