More than 3,000 complaints made about public services last year

Government, local authorities and health dominated complaints

More than 3,000 complaints made about public services last year

File photo of Ombudsman Peter Tyndall at the launch of his 2016 annual report in Dublin | Image: Sam Boal/Rollingnews.ie

The Ombudsman Peter Tyndall received 3,021 complaints about providers of public services last year.

His annual report for 2017 shows that the sectors that were the most complained about were government departments (953 complaints), local authorities (852), and the health and social care sector (608).

There was an increased number of complaints about the local authority sector in 2017.

The Ombudsman said this was as a result of a rise in planning enforcement complaints (114 in 2017 compared with 95 in 2016) and housing cases (379 compared with 364 in 2016).

The Ombudsman also announced that he will shortly be publishing a report into 'end of life care' in Irish hospitals.

The number of complaints about private nursing homes also doubled from 30 in 2016 to 63 in 2017.

The Ombudsman recently appeared before the Oireachtas Public Petitions Committee to discuss his experience of dealing with nursing home complaints - including those about 'social' charges and care in nursing homes.

The report also highlights a number of investigations carried out in 2017, including the investigation into the Magdalene restorative justice scheme.

This was recently extended to 14 adjoining institutions, on recommendation from the Ombudsman.

On this, Mr Tyndall said: "The Minister for Justice and Equality has now accepted all the recommendations in my report including those in relation to women wrongly excluded from the scheme and women who lacked the capacity to fully access it.

"I will continue to work with the department to avoid any further delay in providing justice to the women who were so badly treated in the Magdalene laundries."

'Lost at Sea' investigation

The Ombudsman said that up to early 2018, only one investigation recommendation in the 34-year history of the office had been rejected.

This was in respect of the 'Lost at Sea' investigation, which involved the refusal to grant replacement fishing capacity to the family of a fisherman who lost his life, along with his son and three other crew members, in a tragic accident in 1981.

The Ombudsman said he was delighted that, after many years, the recommendations in the report have now been accepted and the family compensated.

In his annual report, Mr Tyndall also spoke about his first year of dealing with complaints from asylum seekers and refugees living in direct provision.

A factsheet was published in the five most common languages (English, French, Urdu, Arabic and Russian) spoken by residents of the centres | Image: ombudsman.ie

"We received 115 complaints from people living in direct provision centres in 2017.

"Many of these were about transfers to other centres or accommodation issues.

"We have an ongoing programme of visits to all accommodation centres and resolve many complaints informally on the ground."

To coincide with the report, the Ombudsman has launched a new website, which it said makes it easier for people to make a complaint and provides advice and information to the public.

Read the full report here