Published on 30 September 2021

Outgoing Ombudsman Peter Tyndall has called for a review of the Ombudsman Act. Speaking today, 30 September 2021, at the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Public Petitions, the Ombudsman said that the legislation, which dates back to 1980, should be replaced with a more modern, fit for purpose alternative, in line with the United Nations endorsed ‘Venice Principles’ - the global standard for public service Ombudsman institutions.

The Ombudsman also called for his Office’s jurisdiction to be extended in line with commitments given by the Government.  The agreed extensions include the power to investigate complaints about the exercise of ‘clinical judgment’ in the diagnosis or care and treatment of a patient. The Ombudsman is prevented from examining such complaints by law.  The Ombudsman said:

 “People coming to my Office are hugely frustrated when we can only investigate part, but not all, of their complaint which affects them or a loved one being treated in a health setting such as a hospital or private nursing home.”

Peter Tyndall said he hoped to see the Ombudsman’s jurisdiction extended in the near future to complaints about prisons and the administration of the citizenship and ‘leave to remain’ processes.

At the Oireachtas Committee meeting the Ombudsman was discussing his annual report for 2020 – his last before he retires at the end of the year.  He said his Office would continue to actively monitor the implementation of the recommendations made is his investigation into the placement of people under 65 in nursing homes (‘Wasted Lives’) and urged the Committee to do so also.

During the discussions with the Committee, Peter Tyndall also paid tribute to the staff and leaders of public bodies for their dedication and commitment to public services during the pandemic. 

Read the statement to the Joint Oireachtas Committee