The Ombudsman for Children, Emily Logan, is launching an investigation into whether national guidelines for the protection of children are being properly administered.

It follows cases that have reached her office showing that these guidelines may have been breached.

In 1999, the Government launched the Children First national guidelines for the protection of children.

They are intended to support those who come in contact with children so they can recognise abuse, report on it and adequately respond to cases of abuse.

However, following recent cases brought to her office, the Ombudsman says she is concerned that these guidelines are not being consistently applied.

She says that in some cases children may be at risk because their cases may not be properly identified or responded to appropriately by child protection services.

The Health Service Executive is the statutory agency responsible for the implementation of the guidelines, and the Ombudsman says that she will be contacting it and other health professionals as part of the investigation.