The Ombudsman for Children has called on the Government to reopen the conversation on the constitutional right to housing.

Dr Niall Muldoon's comments are contained in his office's annual report for 2018, in which he says housing should be recognised as a social good and not a commodity.

With almost 4,000 children in emergency accommodation, the Ombudsman said the issue of housing as a constitutional right needed to be progressed by Government as was promised in the 2016 Programme for Government.

Dr Muldoon said that despite an upturn in Ireland's economy, mistakes were still being made by public bodies - mistakes that he says are having a lasting impact on children.

The report notes that while the number of complaints received by his office for 2018 are down slightly on 2017, the figures are broadly in line with previous years at 1,622.

Education remains the area that is complained about most at 42%, followed by family support care and protection at 24%.

The majority of these complaints were about child protection services and children in the care of the State.

The number of complaints in relation to health increased slightly in 2018.

The report states that a large number of them were in relation to children with disabilities facing long delays for an assessment of need as well as an increase in the number of complaints about long or non-moving waiting lists for many health services.

The report also shows that more children are contacting the office of the Ombudsman for Children directly to make a complaint.

Dr Muldoon says this was most likely due to the increased outreach work being carried out by his team.