The Deputy will appreciate that there are existing legislative obligations on RTÉ in the provision of music. It has traditionally included the provision by RTÉ of orchestral music through the National Symphony Orchestra, as well as the National Concert Orchestra. Responsibility for RTÉ, in the first instance, rests with my colleague, the Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment. However, as Minister with responsibility for culture and oversight of the National Concert Hall, it is important that there be strong provision of orchestral music in Ireland. I am conscious that the National Concert Hall which does come within my remit has always been proud to call it the home of the National Symphony Orchestra. The National Symphony Orchestra, in turn, provides the backbone of the National Concert Hall’s orchestral music programme through its weekly concerts. My Department and the Arts Council provide support for orchestral music in Ireland and I am fully aware of the premier role the National Symphony Orchestra plays in that regard.
With regard to the review, I understand it is an internal review which is being carried out by RTÉ. My Department has not been directly involved in it. However, officials from my Department have met officials from the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment to discuss the matter. They have been informed that the review is to make recommendations on the best configuration of the orchestras. They were also informed that RTÉ had acknowledged that the orchestras were integral to its arts and cultural programming and formed a key part of its arts and culture strategy.
My Department will maintain close contact with the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment on this matter and both Departments will consider the outcome of the RTÉ review when it is complete. I understand a final report will be delivered to RTÉ shortly.