Government agrees to move National Symphony Orchestra away from RTÉ

It says the orchestra should come under the National Concert Hall

Government agrees to move National Symphony Orchestra away from RTÉ

Simon Taylor, CEO of the National Concert Hall, and Minister Heather Humphreys are pictured with the RTE National Symphony Orchestra on the stage of the National Concert Hall in 2016 | Image: Mark Stedman/Photocall Ireland

The Government has agreed, in principle, that the National Symphony Orchestra should no longer be part of RTÉ.

It says the orchestra should come within the remit of the National Concert Hall, and not be established as a separate State body.

Minister for the Diaspora and International Development, Ciaran Cannon, has welcomed the decision.

He said: "I am very pleased to learn of the Government's decision with regard to the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra which has played a significant role in Irish cultural life.

"Though some people may regard classical and orchestral music as an obscure medium of expression to be enjoyed by the few, nothing could be further from the truth.

"Classical and orchestral music has a robust following across Ireland, provides a significant platform whereby many gifted musicians can make a living and the continued output of Irish composers proves that it is a living art."

Back in April, an independent review chaired by Helen Boaden recommended the National Symphony Orchestra should either be an institution in its own right or within the National Concert Hall.

In 2016, RTÉ's orchestras, quartet and choirs had combined operating costs of €15.6m.

These were funded by two revenue sources: commercial income (19%) and licence fee contributions (81%).

According to RTÉ's 2017 annual report, its orchestras employed 242 people and received 7% of licence fee revenue.