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The Ombudsman for Children’s Office (OCO) is a human rights institution that promotes the rights and welfare of young people under 18 years of age living in Ireland.
In Ireland as far back as 1996 many committed people who were interested in children’s rights put pressure on the Government to have an Irish Ombudsman for Children.
The Ombudsman for Children Act, which sets out the role and powers of this Office, was agreed by the Dáil and the Seanad in 2002. The Ombudsman for Children is a presidential appointment and reports directly to the Oireachtas.
Originally Ombudspersons for Children’s Offices were set up to independently investigate complaints against public organisations. However, after the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child was agreed in 1989, Ombudspersons for Children’s Offices also began working hard to promote the rights of children.
Dr Niall Muldoon was appointed Ombudsman for Children in February 2015 by President Michael D. Higgins. He was then reappointed by the President in 2021 for a further 6 years.