The Ombudsman for Children has told the HSE he is seriously concerned that young people who are suicidal have to wait days to be assessed by emergency services in certain parts of the country..

In his office's annual report, published today, Dr Niall Muldoon also says it is shameful that society tolerates that 10,000 people are in emergency accommodation and that over one-third of them are children.

The Children's Ombudsman received 1,755 new complaints last year, an increase of 4% on the previous year.

Dr Muldoon says this highlights a continuing failure by public bodies to put the best interests of children at the centre of their decisions.

His report expresses disappointment with a lack of progress for young people struggling with serious mental health issues who are trying to access essential emergency supports.

Dr Muldoon recalls conveying his serious concern to the HSE over young people who are suicidal having to wait days to be assessed by emergency services in certain parts of the country.

And he notes that he has urged health service management to address problems with consultant psychiatrists' out-of-hours contracts to tackle the shortcomings.

He also urges the Government to establish an independent inspectorate of Direct Provision centres housing asylum seekers and their families and to speed up the asylum applications process.

The chief executive of Pieta House has said demand for their services has increased year-on-year, with the number of young people attending their services reaching 47% of total clients at times.

Speaking on RTÉ's News at One Brian Higgins said there was no doubt that if there were enough adequately resourced services that those numbers may not be that high.

He said at the moment 42% of all clients to Pieta House are under the age of 18.

He said there are "bottlenecks" when it comes to accessing public services for young people and that these delays varied across the country.

Mr Higgins said the increase of €15m in the health budget this year was not enough and said there needs to be a comprehensive body of work carried out in terms of identifying where there pressure points are and how they can dealt with.

"As it sits now at the moment, today, 42% of all of the clients in Pieta House are under the age of 18. We have over 1,800 people in services at the moment so we're talking about somewhere around 750 young people in the services of Pieta House. And there's no doubt that if we had adequately resourced services we may not have numbers of young people as high as those that we see."