'I thought it was scaremongering' - Lyric FM presenter in disbelief over plan to close Limerick studio

"RTÉ is a national public service broadcaster and not a Dublin public service broadcaster," said TD Jan O'Sullivan.

'I thought it was scaremongering' - Lyric FM presenter in disbelief over plan to close Limerick studio

Seasoned RTÉ Lyric FM presenter Lorcan Murray said he learned of the proposed closure of the station’s studio headquarters in Limerick, through a text message last night, sent from a friend who had seen the news online.

“A friend of mine sent me a text at 11.30pm last night, asking me had I seen The Irish Times online. I was just going to bed. So, there you go. So, The Irish Times knew about it before I did,” Murray said.

Sources at Lyric said they felt “snubbed” by RTÉ in the way station bosses handled the announcement.

For Murray however, who left 2FM to join Lyric, and launch the station in Limerick 20 years ago, last night’s news came as something of a bombshell.

Speaking this morning, he remarked how it was a particularly bitter pill to swallow, having felt that he and his colleagues have been “very loyal” employees.

It’s just so disappointing. I’m 31 years now with RTÉ and I would call myself a very loyal employee, and I feel very disappointed in the way I’ve been told.

Murray recently approached the mayor to seek support for keeping the studios on air in Limerick.

“I had asked him to put forward a motion before the Council for all parties to endorse holding Lyric in Limerick.”

Last May, Lyric’s Limerick staff outwardly maintained a positive outlook, despite their inner concerns about the studio’s future, after RTÉ announced it would hold Lyric’s 20 year celebrations in Dublin.

The decision not to hold the celebrations in Limerick was defended at the time on “cost grounds” by the Head of Lyric FM, Aodan O Dubhghaill.

After the announcement last May, Murray maintained that having a national radio station based locally was “a great feather in the cap” for Limerick.

Today, Murray, who steers the station’s flagship drivetime programme, Classic Drive, said he was gobsmacked by RTÉ's plan closing down Lyric in Limerick.

“I didn't think it would come to be honest, I thought it was scaremongering to be honest, you know - holding out the baby. I’ve had around 30 calls, since 8am from friends, saying they can’t believe it,” he said.

RTÉ Director General Dee Forbes is due to address staff in Limerick today about the plans.

Menawhile, Labour TD for Limerick Jan O'Sullivan criticised the plans to move Lyric FM to Dublin and Cork.

"RTÉ is a national public service broadcaster and not a Dublin public service broadcaster," she said.

“Lyric FM is part of the cultural fabric of Limerick and I cannot see how a once off windfall from closing the studio will generate enough money to cover the organizations financial difficulties."

- Additional reporting Joel Slattery

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