New Legislation Extends Power of Ombudsman

The powers of the Ombudsman’s office have been extended to allow her carry out independent investigations into new areas and agencies, including the third level sector.

Emily O’Reilly said today her office had lobbied for “decades” to have certain bodies brought within its remit.

She said people had in the past come to her office and she hadn’t been able to help them because the bodies about which they were complaining weren’t under her remit and “they couldn’t understand that”. People had felt discriminated against, she said.

Some 140 public bodies brought within the office's remit under the Ombudsman Amendment Act 2012 include the National Treatment Purchase Fund, Fás, the Irish Medical Council and the Family Support Agency.

There had been numerous calls over the decades, including from the UN, for the protection of the Ombudsman’s office to be extended to these areas, Ms O’Reilly said.

But the Department of Justice had always resisted this level of independent oversight.

Ms O’Reilly said Minister for Justice Alan Shatter had promised to introduce this in new legislation.


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