Open Letter – In Defence of Public Service Arts Coverage


We the undersigned are deeply concerned at the prospect of savage cuts at RTÉ and their implications for arts and culture coverage.

RTÉ is the only network in Ireland which provides anything like a bare minimum of consistent & broad coverage of the diverse range of Irish & international art and artists. Without RTÉ & its public service remit, there would be close to zero coverage of new & innovative literature, music, performance or visual arts on the Irish airwaves. Many Irish & Ireland-based artists rely entirely on RTÉ for coverage of our work to reach national & international audiences. Besides this, large numbers of freelance cultural workers rely on rté for occasional work in reviewing, artistic commissions, research, & so on. 

The cutbacks that are now on the table for RTÉ’s arts & culture coverage will therefore have a severe impact on our ability as individuals and as a nation to produce the world-class work in all disciplines and genres that we are rightly known for all over the globe. Like many in Ireland, we each have our own criticisms of how RTÉ is run. Its pay-scales for senior management & celebrity presenters are clearly unjustifiable & should be drastically cut if necessary to help preserve RTÉ’s ability to fulfil the public service mission for which it was founded and for which it has been financially supported for generations of Irish people through license fees. 

RTÉ owes it to the Irish past, present, & future to remain the key stakeholder in the comprehensive coverage of our cultural life. An Ireland which silences its writers and musicians & blanks out its visual artists is no Ireland – is no place to be proud of, is a disgrace to us all. We note the particular blow to the city of Limerick in the proposal to scale down and move LYRIC FM. Should this go ahead it will have a severe knock on effect on cultural life in a crucial west-of-Ireland city and aggravate the already prevalent Dublin-centrism in RTÉs cultural coverage & employment. 

We therefore wish to express our full solidarity with the NUJ & SIPTU struggle against the cuts to quality public service programming and to the wages and conditions of all its hardworking ground staff. We call on RTÉ management and all who exert influence over them in government to reverse the course towards philistinism and the devastation of our cultural life they are now undertaking.

Christy Moore

Andy Irvine

Donal Lunny

Lisa O Neill

Molly O Mahony

Laoise Kelly

Raymond Deane

John Banville

Theo Dorgan

Declan McGonagle

Claire Kilroy

Moya Cannon

Mary O Malley

Dave Lordan

Frank Connolly

Paul McVeigh

Jess Traynor

Olwen Fouéré

Luka Bloom

Vukasin Nedeljkovic

Frank McGowan

Shane Tuohy

John Gibbs

Pat Quinn

Mick Joyce

Ann Scott

Katie McNeice

Nathan Mannion

Fergus Hogan

Mark McLoughlin

Brian Maguire

Anna Jordan

Ciaran O Rourke

Camilla Fanning

Oisin Leech

Michael O Sullivan

Stephen Murray

Siomha Cassidy Hennessy

Roos Demol

Max Hafler

Lillis O Laoire

Sinead Troy

 Bríd Ní Mhaoileoin

Ann Ryan

Kellie Marie Reynolds

Hazel Hogan

Chiamaka Amadi

Deirdre Murphy

Derek Flynn

Daniel Wade

Joe Chester

Alan McGonagle

Sarah Clancy

Lee Jenkins

Keith Smith

Claire Hennessy

Sara O Rourke

Joe Horgan

Elaine Feeney

Abby Oliveira

Nicola Kearns

Martin McLelland

Kevin Higgins

Colm Scullion

Geraldine Mitchell

Karl Parkinson

Moze Jacobs

Seamus Nolan

Terry Moore

Sven Kretchmar

Nuala Leonard

Michael Breatnach

Vanessa O Loughlin

Carl Corcoran

Dean Kelly

Jacinta Lynch