THE OMBUDSMAN for Children has said that that a referendum on the rights of the child is urgent.
In her annual report, Ombudsman Emily Logan said the children’s needs to be put first and that change to the constitution was essential. She said:
“What’s very, very clear to me is because the Constitution – which is the gold standard – doesn’t provide for children, everything else that flows from that means that it’s deficient in terms of really placing the interests of children ahead of anything else.”
Logan pointed to the Ryan and Murphy reports released last year, as highlighting the importance of children’ rights.
The Ombudsman’s report covers the year 2009, when the full scale of horrific institutional abuse of children in Ireland was exposed.
Logan said that there had been a a 13% increase in complaints last year. Significant delays in accessing medical care were highlighted, particularly for children with disabilities.
In one case, a parent of a child requiring a psychological assessment was told they would have to wait two years. In another, a child who had been diagnosed with autism waited for three years to receive Speech and Language therapy.
Parents seeking care for children with special need also had to liaise with several different bodies; in one complaint, a parent with two children with complex medical needs was forced to liaise 24 groups and bodies.
The report showed that 74% of the complainants were parents or guardian who were representing children.
Logan also pointed out that despite the office receiving a significant increase in workload in the past year, the budget was reduced to €2.310m from €2.377m.