Tuesday, 8 May 2018

Questions (502)

Joan Burton


502. Deputy Joan Burton asked the Minister for Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht the additional facilities that may be required at the National Concert Hall if the recommendations of the Boaden report in respect of the future of the National Symphony Orchestra is implemented; the way in which the funding will be provided for to facilitate the National Concert Hall in enabling such a transfer is to take place; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [20042/18]

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Written answers (Question to Culture)

Both the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment and I have welcomed the recommendations of the RTÉ report in relation to the provision of orchestral music.

The report has recommended that the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra should be a national cultural institution in its own right, or within the National Concert Hall. It should be noted that the National Symphony Orchestra has been located in the National Concert Hall since it opened in 1981 and it provides the backbone to the Hall's orchestral music programme. Therefore, there is no change in venue required for any organisational change.

I have also recently announced a major €78m plan to redevelop the National Concert Hall as part of the Government's capital investment plan for Culture, Language and Heritage. This includes provision of a larger hall and proper rehearsal facilities for the National Symphony Orchestra.  There is now an opportunity for the National Symphony Orchestra to play an even stronger role in the cultural life of the national as part of these wider developments.

Officials in our Departments have been asked to advance the recommendations of the report as a matter of priority. This will require intense engagement between both our Departments and RTÉ, and with the National Concert Hall. The concerns of employees of the orchestras will be to the forefront of considerations and there will be need to be significant engagement with them in this regard.

I expect to bring an early report to Government to chart a way forward including the steps which will be needed to address the recommendations.