Before making a complaint to us

First, you must have already complained to the public body, using that body’s internal complaints procedures.

How do I use an internal complaints procedure to first make a complaint?

Section 38 of the Disability Act says a person, or a specified person (see below), may make a complaint in writing to the head of a public body if that body is not following the law as outlined in sections 25, 26, 27, 28 or 29 of the Act.

A specified person can be:

  • a husband or wife, parent or relative of a person with a disability

  • a guardian or a person acting on behalf of a person with a disability

  • a legal representative of a person with a disability

  • a personal advocate assigned by the Citizens Information Board to represent that person

What happens next?

Your complaint must be passed on to an Inquiry Officer for investigation. The Disability Act says public bodies must put independent Inquiry Officers in place. Their job is to examine complaints. Each public body must also publish a document with guidelines about how complaints are looked after.

The Inquiry Officer must write a report with the results of the investigation and give a copy to the head of the public body you have complained about and also to you or the person who made the complaint on your behalf. This report must show what the Inquiry Officer has found and decided about your complaint. If the Inquiry Officer decides your complaint is valid, the report must say what the public body has to do now to fix the problem.

Investigations by Inquiry Officers must be carried out in private.

Information about how to complain must be included in each sectoral plan.

If you complain under the Disability Act, what can the Ombudsman do?

If you have complained and are not happy with the Inquiry Officer’s decision, you can ask the Ombudsman to look into your complaint. If your complaint is about a sectoral plan and you are not happy with the decision of the Complaints Officer, you can ask the Ombudsman to examine your complaint.

If the Ombudsman finds a problem with how your complaint was handled, he or she can recommend that the public body:

  • takes another look at your complaint
  • takes certain actions to make things better
  • explains its actions to the Ombudsman

The Ombudsman can ask for a response to the recommendation(s) by a certain date.

How do I make a complaint?

You can submit your complaint to our office:

When submitting your complaint please give us the following documents, if you have them:

  • your complaint to the public body
  • the reply received from public body and the Inquiry Officer’s report
  • any other documents that might help us

Someone else can complain to us on your behalf, if you give them written permission to do so. If you want to complain to us on behalf of someone else, you must get their written permission. More information is available about how we deal with complaints made on behalf of someone else.

We provide help to people with disabilities wishing to access our services. If you need help to access our services please contact our Access Officer:

Access Officer: Aidan Moore

Postal Address: 18 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2.

Telephone: 01-6395711

E-mail: accessofficer@ombudsman.ie

Find out more about accessibility and our services.

What will it cost?

Nothing. There is no charge for the Ombudsman services

Which public bodies are covered by the Disability Act 2005?

A "public body" means:

  • a Department of State

  • the Office of the President

  • the Office of the Attorney General

  • the Office of the Comptroller and Auditor General

  • the Office of the Houses of the Oireachtas

  • a local authority

  • the HSE

  • a person, body or organisation (other than the Defence Forces) established

    • (i) under any enactment (other than the Companies Acts 1963 to 2003)

    • (ii) under the companies Acts 1963 to 2003

If you have a question about whether a particular public body is covered by the Disability Act, you should ask that public body or the Department of Justice and Equality.