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President McAleese opens Ombudsman for Children’s new Office as demand for OCO services rockets

75% increase in complaints to Ombudsman for Children’s Office since May

The President of Ireland, Mary McAleese, will officially open the new premises of the Ombudsman for Children’s Office (OCO) today (Saturday). This will complete the set up phase of the organistaion, the first of its kind in Ireland.

Since OCO was set up just under 18 months ago the demand for services has increased steadily, with a staggering 75% increase in complaints to the Office in the past four months.

Emily Logan, Ombudsman for Children, said:

‘I am absolutely delighted that President McAleese is opening our Office today. It sends out a very strong message at home and abroad that Ireland values children and young people, and that, we as a nation, are committed to advancing children’s rights.

“My Office is a little more than one year old yet the demand for our services is growing at an enormous rate. In the past four months alone almost the same number of people have contacted our Office as in the previous 12 months.

“Furthermore, the nature of complaints is far more complex and sensitive than anything we have seen before, and many of the complaints we are receiving are from some of the more vulnerable members of society.

“The types of complaints we have received recently have raised many rights issues and demonstrate the urgent need for children to have express rights in the Constitution. I will report publicly on some of these complaints later in the autumn.

“It is becoming a real challenge for the Office to manage the overwhelming demand for our services. However, we do anticipate having more staff in place by the end of the year and we are determined that everyone who contacts our Office will receive a high quality service that meets their needs. As an organisation, we are committed to doing everything we can to help vulnerable children and young people.

“It is a very exciting time for the Ombudsman for Children’s Office. We are absolutely delighted to have a permanent home. And we are looking forward to the future and all the challenges it will bring.”