Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Questions (133)

Mattie McGrath

Question:

133. Deputy Mattie McGrath asked the Taoiseach and Minister for Defence the number of complaints submitted to his Department in 2017, 2018 and to date in 2019; the number of appeals made with respect to the outcome of such complaints; the number referred to the Office of the Ombudsman; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [13778/19]

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Written answers (Question to Defence)

Complaints can be formal or informal in nature, to allow for discretion at the request of the Complainant. Consequently, complaints of an informal nature that are resolved (preferably at the lowest level) cannot be quantified. If a person is dissatisfied by the decisions of any informal process, they may pursue their complaint through the formal complaints mechanism provided for under Section 114 of the Defence Act 1954.

If the complainant remains dissatisfied at that stage, the complaint may be progressed by the Complainant to the Ombudsman for the Defence Forces.

The military authorities have provided data, correct as of 22 March 2019, in relation to complaints lodged under Section 114 of the Defence Act 1954 and referrals to the Ombudsman for the Defence Forces (ODF). This is set out in the table below;

2017

2018

2019

No of Complaints

72

72

13

Referred to ODF

17

9

1

The numbers set out as being referred to the ODF each year relate specifically to appeals lodged in that year from complaints made in the same year. It should be noted that, taking into account time limits as set out in the Ombudsman (Defence Forces) Act 2004, complaints lodged in one year may not fall to be referred to the ODF until the next year.