Forty-two complaints were made to the Ombudsman for Children’s Office (OCO) in 2021 on behalf of children in Donegal, a new report shows.
Resilience Tested; The Ombudsman for Children’s Office Annual Report 2021 recorded a 2% increase in the number of complaints from county Donegal, compared to a record 79% increase nationally.
In 2021 overall, there were 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.
Speaking ahead of the publication of Resilience Tested, the Ombudsman for Children, Dr Niall Muldoon said:
“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.
“It is vital that we take the learnings from the pandemic to bring about change for children. 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.
“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.”