The Ombudsman for Children Dr Niall Muldoon has been formally re-appointed to his role for another term by the President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins.
The Minister for Children, Equality, Disability, Integration and Youth Roderic O’Gorman T.D. put Dr Muldoon’s name forward for reappointment and it was passed in the Houses of the Oireachtas on February 3rd.
Dr Muldoon, who has worked in the area of child protection for over 20 years, was first appointed Ombudsman for Children in 2015. Since then, the Office of the Children’s Ombudsman (OCO) has received approximately 10,000 complaints and initiated 32 investigations, undertaking work which has resulted in systemic change in areas such as health, education, and child welfare.
Dr Muldoon said “I am delighted and humbled to have been re-appointed for a further six years to the role of Ombudsman for Children. I am proud to have led such a strong team in the Office for the past six years in which time we have kept a sharp focus on the rights, welfare and wellbeing of children and young people.
“During this time at the OCO I have initiated investigations that have led to systemic change such as Molly’s Case and Jack’s Case which focused on care for disabled children; led on policy that has resulted in meaningful change for children in Direct Provision and, have empowered children and young people to participate in the exercise of their own rights. Indeed, some of the most important work we do is providing a platform for voices of seldom heard children, so they are harder to ignore and I look forward to the opportunity to amplify these voices further.”
The OCO was established in 2004 and has two main roles; the promotion of children’s rights and taking complaints made by or on behalf of children about the administrative actions of public bodies.
Looking ahead Dr Muldoon said “Children’s Rights are not an abstract concept and they define how well children can live their lives. At its most basic level, when children’s rights are upheld it can positively impact the trajectory of their lives.
“Ireland ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1992 and I would like to see these rights put on a legislative footing. This would be a gamechanger for children in Ireland and would enable change for the greater good within a generation.
“I also want to look at how as a State we can improve the cooperation between agencies and arms of the State, deficits in which we know through our examination and investigation of complaints, has had damaging consequences on vulnerable children with complex needs.
Dr Muldoon said “While we have made great strides in this country when it comes to children’s rights, the pandemic has hit children and young people hard and has brought to the fore the deepening inequalities in our society. Mindful of the enormous challenges and complexities of the global pandemic it is imperative that as nation we ensure that children and young people are not permanently disadvantaged by it, now and into the future.”
“I look forward to continuing to work on behalf of children and young people in Ireland and am deeply honoured to have the opportunity to do so.”
Source: Ombudsman for Children, Ireland