Ombudsman Offices are there to help citizens when they have problems with services provided by the State and other organisations.
Ombudsman Offices are free, independent, objective and fair. We’re here to help people navigate their way through often complex procedures and practices.
If a person has suffered an injustice or has found something wrong in a service provider, Ombudsman Offices are there to help and to put things right.
This may be as simple as an apology or acknowledgement that something wasn’t right. It may also involve putting the person back in the position they would have been in if things had not gone wrong. People with grievances against service providers often feel that it is “David versus Goliath” and they feel they don’t have the skills and resources to challenge service providers. Ombudsman Offices are there to support the individual in ensuring that services are implemented in a fair manner.
Ombudsman Offices have a range of means of addressing problems. Sometimes an informal approach is used. Sometimes conciliation or mediation is used. In other cases a more formal approach is required with the Ombudsman office initiating an investigation and issuing a finding, a report, a recommendation or a decision. The aim is always to ensure that service providers treat people fairly and in a just manner.
Service providers are obliged to cooperate with Ombudsman Offices. Some offices make binding decisions, others make recommendations. Almost all recommendations are accepted by service providers. If an Ombudsman Office issues a binding decision the service provider must accept the decision and take whatever measures are necessary to address the matter.
The Office of the Ombudsman for the Defence Forces has been an active participant in International Conference of Ombuds-Institutions for Armed Forces (ICOAF).
Many countries have established mechanisms and ombuds-institutions for dealing with complaints against their armed forces. While the mandate and scope varies from country to country, in general, the aim of ombuds institutions with jurisdiction over the armed forces is to exercise scrutiny over the armed forces and to investigate any action that is the subject of a complaint against the armed forces.
The aim of ICOAF is to establish best practice and lessons learned related to the mandate, powers and functioning of these institutions. The initiative also reaches out to states that do not have a ombuds-institution for the military but have expressed an interest to learn from experiences from other states. The European Union (EU), the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), the United Nations and EUROMIL have sent observers to ICOAF conferences.
To date, five ICOAF Conferences have taken place. The former Ombudsman for the Defence Forces, Ms Paulyn Marrinin-Quinn S.C. attended the first three ICOAF conferences held respectively in Berlin (May 2009), Vienna (April 2010), Belgrade (April 2011). The former Ombudsman for the Defence Forces, Mr Patrick Anthony McCourt, attended the fifth ICOAF Conference, held in Oslo from 20th – 22nd October 2013
The Office of the Ombudsman for the Defence Forces is an active contributor to the the Ombudsman Association which was established in 1994. The Ombudsman Association (formerly known as the BIOA) came into being when membership of the United Kingdom Ombudsman Association was extended to Offices of Ombudsmen Institutions from the Republic of Ireland. Acting as a focal point for public and private sector Ombudsman schemes complaint handling bodies and other members of the Association BIOA organises and facilitates a range of activities and events for the purpose of exchanging information and promulgating standards of best ombudsmanship practice.
The International Ombudsman Institute (I.O.I.) was established in 1978. It is a global organisation for the cooperation and information exchange of Ombudsman institutions.
The European Chapter of the International Ombudsman Institute (I.O.I.), a regional constituency of the I.O.I. for the purposes of promoting regional participation in the activities of the Institute and to decentralise its activities.
The Ombudsman investigates complaints and serves as a neutral third party on matters related to the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Forces (DND/CF). Acting independently of the chain of command and managers, the Ombudsman reports directly to the Minister of National Defence.
The Defence Force Ombudsman investigates complaints about the Australian Defence Force (ADF) relating to or arising from past or present service.
The Office of the Ombudsman investigates complaints about administrative action, delay or inaction of Government Departments and Offices, Local Authorities, Health Boards and the postal service. A complainant may write, e-mail, telephone or call personally to the Office to submit a complaint. The Ombudsman is also the Information Commissioner and, in that capacity, she reviews the decisions of public bodies in relation to matters covered by the Freedom of Information Act, 1997.
Address: 18 Lower Leeson Street, Dublin 2.
Tel: + 353 1 678 5222
Fax: + 353 1 661 0570
The Financial Services and Pensions Ombudsman is a statutory officer who deals independently with complaints from consumers about their individual dealings with all financial services providers that have not been resolved by the providers. The Ombudsman is the arbiter of unresolved disputes and is impartial. The service is free to the complainant.
Address: 3rd Floor, Lincoln House, Lincoln Place, Dublin 2.
Tel: + 353 1 6620899
Locall: 1890 88 2090
Fax: + 353 1 662 0890
The Ombudsman for Children’s Office (OCO) was established in April 2004 under primary legislation: the Ombudsman for Children Act, 2002. The Ombudsman for Children is statutorily charged with promoting and safeguarding the rights and welfare of children and young people up to eighteen years of age. The Ombudsman for Children is independent of Government and is accountable to the Oireachtas. The main functions are: Promoting Children and Young People’s Rights; Complaints and Investigations Research, and Policy.
Address: Millennium Hse,52-56 Great Strand Street, Dublin 1.
LoCall: 1890 654 654
Tel: + 353 1 865 6800
The Garda Ombudsman is responsible for receiving and dealing with all complaints made by members of the public concerning the conduct of members of the Garda Síochána. The Garda Ombudsman’s mission is to provide the public with an independent and effective oversight of policing, and to deal with the public’s complaints concerning Gardaí fairly and efficiently so that everyone can have confidence in the complaints system.
Address: 150 Abbey Street Upper, Dublin 1.
LoCall: 1890 600 800
Tel: + 353 1 871 6727
Fax: + 353 1 814 7023
An Coimisinéir Teanga enquires into complaints from the public and initiates investigations where it is alleged that public bodies may have failed to fulfil their duties under the Official Languages Act 2003. The Coimisinéir also investigates complaints that legislation relating to the status or use of Irish has been contravened. An Coimisinéir Teanga may begin an investigation on his or her own initiative, at the request of the Minister or as a result of a complaint from a member of the public. Any party to an investigation or any other person affected by the findings and recommendations of the investigation may appeal to the High Court on a point of law within four weeks.
Address: Oifig an Choimisinéara Teanga, An Spidéal, Gaillimh
LoCall: 1890 504006
The Press Ombudsman considers complaints from members of the public about articles in newspapers, magazines and online publications that may be in breach of the Code of Practice of the Press Council of Ireland. Complaints will only be considered against publications which are members of the Press Council of Ireland (all national newspapers, including Irish editions of UK newspapers, most local newspapers, many magazines and some online-only news services are members).
LoCall: 1890 208 080
Tel: +353 1 648 9130