Minister apologises for saying people should “shop around” instead of complaining about cost of living
His comments were met with intense backlash.
The Minister of State at the Department of Finance has apologised for his controversial comments on the cost of living in Ireland.
Speaking on RTÉ's Drivetime on Monday, Sean Fleming said that people should stop "complaining" about the cost of living and shop around for better deals.
"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," he said.
The Fianna Fáil TD went on to say his net salary "about €1,000 a week," but insisted that didn't matter because his advice was relevant regardless of income.
"Don't do as I say – do as I do," he said. "I do the weekly shopping in my house for a long period of time and I know the prices in the supermarket and I know the supermarkets that offer different things at better prices.
"I've shopped around for my insurance... I've shopped around for my health insurance. It does take time and effort and if people put in time and effort, they can actually get reductions."
Labour leader Alan Kelly described Mr. Fleming's views as "out of touch" with the reality faced by thousands, while others labelled them as "insensitive" and "tone deaf".
Now, in a statement made overnight, the Minister has apologised.
The Statement I issued last night pic.twitter.com/crvL4BMRoo
— Seán Fleming (@SeanFlemingTD) February 8, 2022
"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," he said.
"I was urging people to also shop around for best value, in addition to the measures being taken by the Government.
"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."
Government leaders met on Monday night to discuss how to address the rising cost of living.
A new package of measures is set to be agreed by the Government later this week.
Feature Image: Leah Farrell/RollingNews.ie