30 Jun 2022

One percent of complaints made to the Children's Ombudsman last year were in Tipperary

This is down from 3% in 2020

Just one percent of complaints made to the Children's Ombudsman last year were in Tipperary

Just one percent of complaints made to the Children's Ombudsman last year were in Tipperary

According to the Ombudsman for Children's Office (OCO), there was a reduction in complaints made involving children in Tipperary in 2021, according to the Ombudsman for Children's Office (OCO). 

The Ombudsman's office released its annual report - Resilience Tested today, which showed 21 complaints involving children in Tipperary. 

This is down from around 36 in 2020. 

This is in stark contrast to a national increase of 79% in complaints to the OCO. 

Speaking ahead of the report's publication, Ombudsman for Children, Dr Niall Muldoon, said some of the increase could be attributed to services reopening after the 2020 closure and others to covid-19 restrictions.

"Children are often recognised for their ability to learn, to adapt, to endure difficulties, to recover and to accept change. But even the strongest of us have our limits, and in 2021 even the most resilient child was tested," said Dr Muldoon. 

Nationally there were 2,126 complaints made, with 906 of these related to covid-19. 

Topics of complaint included restrictions in school, bullying, the uncertainty around the leaving certificate, facemasks and disability supports. 

A total of 53% of complaints related to education. 

Tipperary represented just 1% of all complaints where the location was known. 

"In 2021, children, and indeed the public services providing for them, had to simply "get on with it". Children were expected to make do with the stop-start nature of school, they were expected to make friends behind masks, and they were expected to accept the cancelled plans, the curtailed experiences.

"The impact of the past two years can be clearly seen in the issues being raised with the OCO, and I expect that there will be a knock-on effect for years to come, said Dr Muldoon. 

It should be noted that the child's location is not always known in a complaint.

In other cases, the complaint is not limited to one location.  

The figures for the county relate only to complaints that were known to be in Tipperary. 

Dr Muldoon called on the Government to make a commitment to improve services for children in marginalised groups and learn from the pandemic. 

"In 2021, the OCO published reports on Traveller issues, Direct Provision and the barriers facing children with disabilities. The scourge of child homelessness and poverty also remain of huge concern to us, and our Better Normal proposal to eradicate these issues was debated in the Dáil last year. 

"It is clear that children are still experiencing delays in accessing services, and Government departments and agencies still need to be more child-centred. 

"The pandemic has shown like never before how children's best interests need to be at the centre of decisions affecting them, which wasn't always the case in 2021," concluded Dr Muldoon.

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