140 public bodies to be brought under Ombudsman's remit

Wednesday 24 October 2012 16.38
Emily O'Reilly said she had long campaigned for the inclusion of more public bodies under her remit
Emily O'Reilly said she had long campaigned for the inclusion of more public bodies under her remit

Ombudsman Emily O'Reilly has welcomed a Government move to bring 140 additional public bodies under the remit of her office.

Ms O'Reilly said she has long campaigned for their inclusion.

The role of the Office of the Ombudsman is to examine complaints from members of the public who feel they have been unfairly treated by certain public bodies.

The Ombudsman Amendment Act 2012 passed its final stage in the Dáil yesterday, which will see additional bodies coming under its remit.

These include all publicly funded third-level education institutions, the VECs, FÁS and the Irish Medical Council.

It is expected these bodies will come under Ombudsman oversight within the next six months.

Ms O'Reilly described the amendment as an historic move, and has pledged to continue working with the Minister for Public Expenditure to bring even more organisations under her oversight.

She said she would also like to see her remit expanded to include prisons, and bodies dealing with asylum and immigration.

"There have been numerous calls over the decades, including from the UN, for the protection afforded by my office to be extended to these areas," she said.

Speaking on RTÉ's Morning Ireland she said: "The Department of Justice has always resisted this level of oversight and what has happened now is that Alan Shatter, the Minister for Justice, has promised that in new legislation that that level of oversight be brought in.

"What I said to the Oireachtas a few weeks ago is that if when that oversight is brought in, and they judge that it isn't up to the standard of independent oversight that might be afforded by my office, then they will need to review that."

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