01 Jul 2022

Laois TD Sean Fleming apologises for 'stop complaining' comments about cost of living crisis

Laois TD Sean Fleming apologises  for 'stop complaining' comments about cost of living crisis

Minister Sean Fleming

A Laois Fianna Fáil TD is in hot water after his ill judged comments about the cost of living.

Deputy Seán Fleming urged people to "shop around" and not complain about the cost of living crisis, while speaking on RTÉ's Drivetime radio programme on Monday evening. 

"Rather than just complaining and [asking] 'What's the Government going to do for me?', you can actually have a serious impact on your own finance, but it involves people having to do some work themselves," Mr Fleming said.

He said that his net salary is "about €1,000 a week".

The Laois/Offaly TD came in for considerable criticism, with Sinn Féin TD Louise O'Reilly describing his comments as insensitive and tone deaf. Labour party leader Alan Kelly said the comments showed how out of touch the Government is with reality.

Guests on RTÉ's Claire Byrne show later that night roundly criticised him for his remarks. One woman told the show she had to open the door of her cooker to try and heat her house that morning, as she couldn't pay her gas bill. 

He has now issued a statement with an apology. 

"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 measures being taken by the Government," Deputy Fleming said. 

"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," the TD added. 

Government leaders are meeting this week to discuss new measures to alleviate the impact of the rising cost of living.

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