Ombudsman Receives 62 Complaints About Tipperary Public Services

Ombudsman Peter Tyndall received 3,021 complaints about providers of public services last year.  62 complaints were received from people living in Tipperary. The Ombudsman’s annual report for 2017 was published today [Wednesday 20 June] and shows that the sectors that were the most complained about in 2017 were:


  • Government Departments/Offices 953 complaints
  • Local Authorities 852 complaints
  • Health and social care sector 608 complaints


The Ombudsman received an increased number of complaints about the local authority sector in 2017.  This was as a result of a rise in planning enforcement complaints (114 in 2017 compared with 95 in 2016) and housing cases (379 compared with 364 in 2016).


Tipperary County Council received 24 complaints.


The Ombudsman also announced today that he will shortly be publishing a report into ‘end of life care’ in Irish hospitals.  The report is expected to show the progress that has been made since his commentary on complaints about end of life care – ‘A Good Death’.


Nursing Homes

The number of complaints about private nursing homes doubled from 30 in 2016 to 63 in 2017.  The Ombudsman recently appeared before the Oireachtas Public Petitions Committee to discuss his experience of dealing with nursing home complaints, including those about ‘social’ charges and care in nursing homes.  He published a summary of key cases in ‘The Ombudsman’s Nursing Home Casebook’ earlier this year.


Magdalen laundry investigation

The Ombudsman’s report highlights a number of investigations his Office carried out in 2017, including the investigation into the Magdalen ‘restorative justice scheme’.


The Ombudsman said:


“The Minister for Justice and Equality has now accepted all the recommendations in my report including those in relation to women wrongly excluded from the scheme and women who lacked the capacity to fully access it.  I will continue to work with the Department to avoid any further delay in providing justice to the women who were so badly treated in the Magdalen laundries.”


‘Lost at Sea’ investigation

The Ombudsman says that up to early 2018 only one investigation recommendation in the 34-year history of the Office had been rejected.  This was in respect of the ‘Lost at Sea’ investigation, which involved the refusal to grant replacement fishing capacity to the family of a fisherman who lost his life, along with his son and three other crew members in a tragic accident in 1981.  The Ombudsman said he was delighted that, after many years, the recommendations in the report have now been accepted and the family compensated.


Direct Provision complaints

In his annual report, the Ombudsman also spoke about his first year of dealing with complaints from asylum seekers and refugees living in the direct provision accommodation system.


“We received 115 complaints from people living in direct provision centres in 2017. Many of these were about transfers to other centres or accommodation issues.  We have an ongoing programme of visits to all accommodation centres and resolve many complaints informally on the ground.”


New Ombudsman website

The Ombudsman today also launched a new website for his Office – – which makes it easier for people to make a complaint to his Office, and provides advice and information to the public and service providers.



Case Studies:

A number of complaints the Ombudsman upheld are summarised in his annual report including:


Council refused full heritage grant after failure to use Irish thatch


A man complained to the Ombudsman about Tipperary County Council’s decision to only pay him half the grant the Council had provisionally approved under the Built Heritage Investment Scheme on the grounds that a specific condition requiring native Irish materials had not been met. The man said that neither the application form nor the guidance circular provided with the application form specified that the materials used must be of Irish origin. He only became aware of this months after his application had been submitted and only at the time that the provisional grant was offered. At that stage the man had already sourced the materials required and booked a thatcher. It was too late for him to source the quantity of reed necessary from that winter’s Irish harvest and so he had to proceed with his thatcher’s sourcing of the necessary materials.



The application form, accompanying guidelines, and information booklet on the scheme did not have a specific condition stating explicitly that ‘native Irish materials’ had to be used. The Ombudsman was satisfied that the man met the requirements as laid out in the relevant documentation at the time of submitting his application.



The Council revised its decision and paid the man the remainder of the original sum it offered him of €2,500.


Farmer gets refund of €27,550 as he was not informed of correct procedure


A farmer from Kildare was penalised €27,550 in relation to his Rural Environment Protection Scheme (REPS) payment.  The man had changed ownership of lands but did not inform the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine, which he is supposed to do under the scheme.  However, when the Ombudsman examined the case he discovered that the Department had not processed the man’s application correctly. He had not been told of the consequences of not informing the Department about a change in land ownership.  The Department apologised and agreed to reissue the payment of €27,550 to the man.


(More details on page 25 of the Ombudsman’s report)


Asylum seeker able to pursue education after getting accommodation transfer


An 18-year-old woman who arrived in Ireland alone applied for asylum as a minor and started her fifth year education in Dublin. She was initially living close to her aunt – her only family member.  However, she was then assigned to a direct provision accommodation centre in the south west of Ireland.  The manager of the accommodation centre facilitated her travel to the Dublin school and her return at weekends.  However, she received a letter from the Reception and Integration Agency (RIA) warning her about absences from the centre.  RIA disputed that it had issued a letter to the woman and rejected a transfer request from the woman.


The woman was able to show the Ombudsman a copy of the letter from RIA.  The Ombudsman believed that RIA’s decision to refuse the transfer request was inconsistent with its policy of keeping residents in accommodation centres close to other family members and facilitating continuity of education.


RIA agreed to review its decision and granted the woman a transfer to a centre within commuting distance of her school and her aunt in Dublin.  The Ombudsman’s constructive engagement with RIA has also reduced the number of complaints he has received about transfer requests.

More case studies in Chapter 4 of the Ombudsman’s Annual Report.


Ombudsman Annual Report 2017 (English pdf)

Tuarascáil Bhliantúil 2017 (Gaeilge pdf)


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