Published date: 19 Oct 2023

Ombudsman for Children’s Special Report demonstrates the need for significant urgent action to maintain the basic dignity of children living in emergency accommodation

The Children’s Rights Alliance welcomes the Special Report published today (19.10.2023) by the Ombudsman for Children on the safety and welfare of children living in direct provision.

Speaking in response to this Special Report, Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance said:

“We know that the significant increase in the number of people seeking international protection in Ireland has resulted in unprecedented challenges for the Government to respond as quickly and compassionately as possible. This Special Report lays bare the changed context in which we are all now working in to provide the best possible solutions for children and young people. We welcome the Ombudsman’s report and its recommendations and the fact that this is the first report of its kind presented to the Oireachtas should be taken as measure of how serious the situation is for children and young people in direct provision. Living in hotels and emergency accommodation is far from an ideal or even adequate response, however this report found that for 16,804 children, this is the current reality. Leaving children and young people in limbo, for months and sometimes years in accommodation that is unsuitable and not family-friendly is something the Government must work to change immediately.”

“We have 4,528 children now in Direct Provision with a large number in emergency type low grade direct provision, with very basic standards largely agreed to be inadequate for children’s development. Exposure to these conditions for even the shortest periods of time can have profound effects on physical health and emotional wellbeing. Besides the obvious physical impacts caused by circumstances including low food quality and unfit hygiene facilities, the loneliness caused by the inability to be socially integrated and make friends due not being able to access afterschool activities or even public transport can have severe consequences mentally.”

“A new set of standards is urgently needed for these emergency settings to ensure the welfare of children is protected. We need to see these centres inspected and HIQA should be tasked with leading inspections to ensure that these standards are being universally upheld. We recognise that the Department plans to implement the commitments of the White Paper have been significantly impacted by the current unprecedented demand, however the money made available for new build or the acquisition of accommodation to date has been paltry. If the Government is to move away from hotel/temporary type accommodation and avoid adding pressure on existing housing stock, it needs to step in to generate more dedicated accommodation. Children and families need to be in own door accommodation. This is the only way we will be able to maintain basic dignity and basic housing conditions for children and young people.”




Emma Archbold: [email protected] / 087 997 1410

Notes to Editors:

  • Tanya Ward, Chief Executive of the Children’s Rights Alliance is available for media interviews.
  • The Special Report issued by the Ombudsman for Children’s office here.

About the Children’s Rights Alliance
Founded in 1995, the Children’s Rights Alliance unites 150 members working together to make Ireland one of the best places in the world to be a child. Further information is available at: or on Twitter, @ChildRightsIRL

For media queries, please contact:

Emma Archbold

Campaigns and Communications Director