Children’s ombudsman disputes State claims

Most issues in direct provision centres were best ‘resolved locally’, Government tells EU

 Children’s Ombudsman Niall Muldoon: asked after Thursday’s examination whether there had been “ongoing dialogue” between his office and Justice on extending his remit to direct provision centres, he said there had not. Photograph: Sara Freund

Children’s Ombudsman Niall Muldoon: asked after Thursday’s examination whether there had been “ongoing dialogue” between his office and Justice on extending his remit to direct provision centres, he said there had not. Photograph: Sara Freund

 

Ombudsman for Children Niall Muldoon has disputed Government claims about the rights of children in direct provision made to a United Nations committee on Thursday.

Asked by the UN committee why the children’s ombudsman could not investigate complaints from children in direct provision, a Department of Justice official said the issue was a matter of “ongoing dialogue” between the two bodies.

Deaglán Ó Briain of the department’s equality division also said most issues in direct provision centres were best “resolved locally”.

The extension of the remit of the Office of the Children’s Ombudsman to direct provision centres was a key recommendation in the Government-commissioned working group report on direct provision published in June 2015.

UN committee chair, Gehad Madi from Egypt, said many of the 1,200 child asylum seekers had spent “the whole of their childhoods” in direct provision centres: “This was a concern raised by the UN Human Rights Committee in 2014.”

Mr Muldoon, asked after Thursday’s examination whether there had been “ongoing dialogue” between his office and the department on extending his remit to direct provision centres, said there had not.

“There hasn’t been any ongoing dialogue to date. We were interacting with the working group and there hasn’t been any dialogue since then from my point of view. I did receive an update in regards to the working group and it didn’t mention the remit [of the Ombudsman for Children] . . .”

The recommendation that his remit be extended was a “strong” one from the working group, he said, and was “ long overdue”.

Children losing out

Ireland

He said it was ironic children in direct provision could make a complaint directly to the UN committee, but there was nowhere in Ireland they could.