Sean Fleming's "Heart Is In The Right Place", Says Government Colleague

But the opposition has compared him to Marie Antoinette.

Junior Finance Minister Sean Fleming has been compared to Marie Antoinette after saying people should shop around rather than rely on the government to ease the cost of living.

It comes as Cabinet has approved a multi-billion euro plan for home retrofits.

Was it good advice delivered badly or Government arrogance?

That's part of the debate around Leinster House after the Laois-Offaly TD said people shouldn't ask what the Government can do for them on the cost of living, but shop around.

The opposition accused him of being out of touch - and he's since apologised for the comments.

Social Democrat Catherine Murphy clear in her view;

"The comments - which really fall in to the Marie Antoinette category of Sean Fleming - really do re-enforce the slowness, how out of touch and the lack of empathy, in relation to people who are really struggling. (sic)"

As was, Solidarity TD Mick Barry;

"Sean Fleming only said, in my opinion, what government ministers believe and what they all say behind closed doors."

However, the Public Expenditure Minister thinks Seán Fleming's heart is in the right place.

Minister Michael McGrath insists the government is doing what it can to address the cost of living;

"All of us in public life are engaging with the media on a regular basis. We don't always find the right words, but I know that Sean's heart is in the right place.

"We can't control everything. We can't directly control international energy prices, for example, but we have some levers and we going to seek to use a number of those to take some pressure off people."

Cost of living measures will be announced later this week, today it's the turn of home retrofitting.

People will get half the cost of a complete retrofit, around €25,000, or up to 80 per cent of the cost of smaller works, under the scheme valued at 8 billion out to 2030.

It's been given a cautious welcome - but concerns remain about people still having to fork out a lot of money upfront, and whether there are enough skilled workers to actually do the job and meet retrofit targets.

More from Midlands News