RTÉ has announced that its regional operations in Sligo, Dundalk, Galway, Athlone and Waterford are to move to local institutes of technology.

The moves come under a partnership arrangement aimed at saving over €1m.

The station said there would be no job losses and all regional correspondents will continue to provide extensive coverage from their existing regions.

However, some other staff roles will be reviewed.

RTÉ's Director General Noel Curran said the restructuring of regional operations will preserve a presence in the regions for licence fee payers and increase the scope for external partnerships.

He said the fact that some staff had been redeployed to Dublin did not mean that RTÉ was retrenching to a more Dublin-focused operation.

Mr Curran also said the decision to close the London office had been very difficult, but that it had been a very large office in the most expensive real estate part of London beside Westminster.

He said he was confident RTÉ could cover British affairs in a different way from Belfast, Dublin and Brussels, but that the situation will be reviewed in six to 12 months if it is felt the coverage is not right for viewers.

Mr Curran added that there was no threat to the operations in Brussels and Washington, but that everyone in the organisation would continue to look at how they could do things more effectively and efficiently.

Changes made to regional operations

The presidents of the five institutes of technology in Athlone, Waterford, Galway/Mayo, Dundalk and Sligo have welcomed the new partnerships with RTÉ, which will be implemented by January 2013.

RTÉ offices in Cork and Limerick will be maintained, but the size of the Belfast office will be reduced.

Television programme Nationwide will remain at its Cork base, with the new afternoon programme Today broadcasting from there from November.

In Limerick, both the regional office and the Lyric FM operation remain in place.

The station plans to advertise immediately for the post of Western Correspondent, which has been vacant since Jim Fahy retired in January.

Nuacht staff have moved from Donnybrook to Connemara.

From January, Nuacht Radio will broadcast from Casla, which will also be the base for the first-ever Irish language online unit.

In addition, RTÉ has accepted an invitation to participate with Limerick County VEC in the country's first secondary school media studies course at Coláiste Chiaráin, Croom, Co Limerick.

The Breakfast with Hector programme on RTÉ 2fm is also in discussions with GMIT as part of the new initiative.

RTÉ said the changes would place it at the centre of technological and educational innovation and link it to a future generation of media industry leaders.

Over the next few weeks, joint working groups will be established between each IT and RTÉ to look at the range and potential of these new relationships.

RTÉ anticipates that these new partnerships in the regions will complement those already established by the organisation with other third level institutions.

Currently, RTÉ News has annual work placement programmes with DCU, UL and NUIG.

There are also existing relationships between Nuacht RTÉ and NUIG, involving internships and input into courses.

It has also established an internship programme for Irish language students with DCU and UCD.