84 complaints to Children’s Ombudsman from North West

There were 84 complaints made to the Ombudsman for Children’s Office in 2021 on behalf of children in the North West, a new report shows.


Nationally, there was a 79% increase in the number of complaints to the Ombudsman for Children’s Office last year, reflecting the disruption experienced by children, particularly in the area of education.


In Donegal, there were 42 complaints made in 2021, reflecting a 2% increase


Sligo and Leitrim recorded a 1% increase, with 21 complaints in each county.


Resilience Tested; The Ombudsman for Children’s Office Annual Report 2021 reflects the challenges faced by children, families and public services last year to ‘keep going’ in the face of restrictions and lockdowns.


In 2021 there were a total of 2,126 complaints made to the Ombudsman for Children’s Office, with 908 of these directly related to Covid-19 issues.
These issues included restrictions in schools, uncertainty surrounding the Leaving Certificate, facemasks and supports for children with disabilities.
For many years education has been the subject of most complaints to the OCO and this was the case again in 2021, with 53% of complaints relating to education. In keeping with previous years, bullying again accounted for 10% of education related complaints.


In a statement, the Ombudsman for Children, Dr Niall Muldoon said that the impact of the past two years can be clearly seen in the issues being raised with the OCO and he expects that there will be a knock-on effect for years to come.


Dr Muldoon says that an investment in children’s futures and commitment from Government is needed to ensure that we do not miss the opportunity to do things better.