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It's the 10 year anniversary of the Children's Ombudsman Office

Children’s Ombudsman, Emily Logan, says accountability is needed for the independence of Ombudsman institutions.

Image: Sasko Lazarov via Photocall Ireland

THE CHILDREN’S OMBUDSMAN Office is 10 years old this month.

Emily Logan is hosting a conference to examine the State’s relationship with children and families to mark the anniversary.

She said it’s time to reflect on the past decade of her Office and to consider the future.

Logan said “Over the past decade, my Office has received a huge amount of support for the work we have undertaken from the public, politicians, civil society and the media.

We have also been confronted with significant pockets of resistance, both active and passive, to the advancement of children’s rights.

Emily Logan was appointed as Ireland’s first Ombudsman for Children in December 2003 and in April 2004 The Ombudsman for Children Act 2002 was commenced in full.

During the first year in operation, 177 complaints were received to the Ombudsman for Children’s Office.

Her office has conducted thousands of investigations into situations where the  public policy made life worse for children rather than better.

The Office has also published reports on children in St Patrick’s Institution, children and the experience of homelessness and most recently a report on the removal of two Roma children from their families.  

Accountability  

Logan is calling for new accountability structures to be put in place to ensure the independence of Ombudsman institutions. She said:

As I finish my tenure next year, I am concerned about the future of this Office because we have witnessed how independent institutions can be subject to politics.

As Ombudsman for Children, Logan accounts directly to the Oireachtas. The Executive (via individual Departments) controls the funding of Ombudsmen through Oireachtas votes. Logan said, 

I believe the legislature needs to reconsider the relationship between the Executive and Ombudsman institutions.

“I believe that in order to ensure and enhance the independence of such institutions, including my own Office, an Oireachtas committee should be charged with determining our budgets, providing for financial accountability, as well as ensuring that people like me are doing their jobs”.

 

Read: Roma child cases: Emily Logan’s handed her report in to Alan Shatter>

Read: Officers who mistreated teens at St Patrick’s will not move to Wheatfield>

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