Government and RTE must save orchestras – Ní Riada

Sinn Féin MEP Liadh Ní Riada has called on the national broadcaster and the Government to safeguard both the National Symphony Orchestra and the Concert Orchestra.

The Ireland South MEP, who sits on the EU Culture and Education Committee, made the call after an RTE review claimed they could not continue to fund both orchestras.

“I am very concerned with the message coming from the national broadcaster,” she said.

“The National Symphony Orchestra and Concert Orchestra are two unique institutions that bring their own contributions to our musical culture. Both have been at the forefront of symphonic music in Ireland since their establishment.

“Both RTE and the Minister for Arts, Josepha Madigan, need to come out immediately and state that these two institutions will be safeguarded.
“I was appointed as one of the negotiators for the legislative proposal ‘Creative Europe programme 2014-2020: European Union Youth Orchestra’. Our priority when negotiating that report was how to safeguard the European Youth Orchestra, to ensure that young artists can continue to use it as a platform to display and develop their skills and talents and I believe that this should be the position of RTE and Minister Madigan when it comes to the National Symphony Orchestra and the Concert Orchestra.”

Reacting to the suggestion that the RTÉ National Symphony Orchestra be turned into an institution in its own right and funded by government, Ms Ní Riada said she would approach this suggestion with caution.

“I would take a critical look at the proposal that National Symphony Orchestra be turned into an institution of its own and that it receives its funding from government.

“This would leave the orchestra vulnerable to the type of government cuts we have seen over the past decade that could piece by piece destroy it.

“Any such suggestion would need to be accompanied by a legal framework that would compel the government to continue to fund a Symphony Orchestra.

“Creative arts are a crucial part of our culture and identity. The loss of either of these orchestras would be a tragic blow to our national heritage.”

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