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Fianna Fáil's Sean Fleming apologises for 'shocking' cost of living comments

Mr Fleming prompted backlash when he said people should shop around instead of 'just complaining' about the rising cost of living

Junior Finance Minister Sean Fleming was speaking on RTÉ radio's 'Drivetime'

Neasa Cumiskey

Junior Minister Sean Fleming has apologised for his controversial comments about the soaring cost of living.

Mr Fleming prompted backlash when he said people should shop around instead of “just complaining” about the rising cost of living on RTÉ’s Drivetime.

He said that if people “make an effort they can save a lot of money” before adding: “But that involves people having to do some work themselves.”

In a statement on Monday night, Mr Fleming said that is was not his intention to imply that people shouldn’t complain about Ireland’s cost of living.

He said: “In relation to the interview I gave on RTÉ’s Drivetime this evening, I did not intend to imply people shouldn’t complain about the cost of living, that wasn’t my intention and for that I apologise.

“I was urging people to also shop around for best value, in addition to the measures being taken by the Government," he said in a statement issued through the Fianna Fáil press office.

“The government and Fianna Fáil take the issues around the cost of living very seriously. We are taking action to help ease the cost of living pressures many are currently facing. I am very aware of the cost of living pressures that are currently confronting people and businesses.”

Last night, Sinn Féin leader Mary Lou McDonald described the comments as “out of touch, indifferent and tone deaf.”

People Before Profit TD Richard Boyd Barrett said Mr Fleming’s comments were “absolutely shocking”.

“It shows a Government on a totally different planet to the one that huge numbers of people in this country are absolutely crucified and impoverished with the rise in cost of living,” he said.

And Sinn Féin’s Pearse Doherty added that the comments were “insulting and out of touch.”

He said that Mr Fleming “has had months to respond to the cost of living crisis facing workers and ­families.”

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