Following the publication of a report commissioned by RTÉ from independent consultants Helen Boaden and Mediatique on the RTÉ orchestras - RTÉ Orchestras: Ensuring a Sustainable Future - the Government agreed in principle that the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra should come within the remit of the National Concert Hall. It also authorised the initiation of discussions on the implementation of the recommendations of the report.
The overall aim of the Government decision in regard to the proposed transfer of the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra is to enable it to be established as a world class orchestra which, with the National Concert Hall, would provide a creative and imaginative programme strategy that would greatly enhance the offering of the combined organisation to the public. The process offers a welcome opportunity to plan a way forward for the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra and the RTÉ Concert Orchestra and ensures that they can contribute fully to Ireland’s rich cultural heritage.
As the Deputy stated, an oversight group and working group have been established with formal terms of reference and with a view to identifying and addressing the relevant issues to enable the successful transfer of the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra from the remit of RTÉ to that of the National Concert Hall. The terms of reference of the oversight group provide that the group will be chaired by the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht and constitute representatives of that Department, the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment, RTÉ and the National Concert Hall. The terms of reference of the working group provide that its membership may vary depending on the nature of the issue being discussed and that it will report to the oversight group.
The oversight group has met on a number of occasions, most recently on 8 January, and has agreed on the importance of a proper communication process between the oversight and working groups and representatives, members and support staff of the National Symphony Orchestra in order to ensure that the orchestra is informed on a timely basis about all aspects of the proposed transfer and can input to the process. In this regard, it is intended that a meeting will be arranged shortly between the working group and union representatives of the National Symphony Orchestra to update them on developments to date.