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Passport office has received more complaints already this year than for all of last- Ombudsman

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The Passport Office on Lower Mount Street, Dublin in February. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins Photos

The Passport Office on Lower Mount Street, Dublin in February. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins Photos

The Passport Office on Lower Mount Street, Dublin in February. Photo: Gareth Chaney/Collins Photos

The Ombudsman said the passport office has received more complaints already this year than it did for all of last year.

This comes as complaints to the Ombudsman about public services reached a record high in 2021, with 4,004 complaints received by the office last year.

This is the highest-ever in the 38-year history of the Ombudsman. 

The Ombudsman and Information Commissioner Ger Deering said communication is key, and that complaints are mainly sent when there is a lack of communication between the service and the complainant. 

As 195,000 people in Ireland are awaiting a passport, Mr Deering said the biggest issue is that they cannot get in contact with the office. 

"We have had more complaints already this year [for the passport office] than we had for all of last year,” he said on RTÉ Radio One’s Morning Ireland

“There is no doubt that people are waiting too long but the bigger issue is that they cant contact the office.

“At times people need to be able to access information, whether that’s by email or by phone. “They really need to know, we have people who are unable to visit family.

"Holidays are important but also there are people with newborn children who want to meet their grandparents and they don’t know if they will be able to travel.”

According to the latest annual report published by the Office of the Ombudsman, complaints in 2021 were up 17pc from the year previous. 

There was a significant increase in complaints about the Department of Foreign Affairs passport office, however, complaints about Government departments and offices were down 12pc from 2020. 

Complaints about local authorities rose significantly (45pc) as Dublin City Council received 227, Cork City Council 101 and 70 about Limerick and County Council. 

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There were 796 complaints made about the health sector, which is up 26pc since 2020.

These include complaints about the HSE, public hospitals and Tusla. 

The report summarised some of the complaints upheld in 2021, including one in which a nursing home wouldn’t respond to a family member’s complaint about their mother. 

The woman, who had dementia, was found 3km from the home and had facial injuries.

“As you can imagine the person had dementia and it was a big concern to the family that this person had left the nursing home and had gone a distance so when they started to engage the nursing home initially wouldn’t engage with them,” the Ombudsman said.

"And then the nursing home wouldn’t engage with us which they were legally obliged to do and we had to explain that to them.

"The interesting thing is the nursing home has carried out a reasonably good investigation and has established what happened, but again it goes back to the refusal to communicate with the family initially at all and the family wanted an explanation in writing.

"It was the unwillingness to communicate which led to this.”


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