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'They didn't have to answer the door': Shane Ross defends evening visits to locals over Christmas

The Minister for Transport was responding to claims on Liveline that his Christmas calls were not appropriate.

MINISTER FOR TRANSPORT Shane Ross has defended a decision to make evening calls to local constituents over the Christmas period.

The Dublin Rathdown TD was responding to claims on Liveline on RTÉ Radio 1 that his door-to-door calls to locals on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve were inappropriate.

“A lot of elderly people actually did answer the door and were very pleased because they like to talk and they were quite lonely, and they knew me,” Ross said.

“The vast majority [of people] – and that includes the elderly – were actually delighted. They were a bit shocked, because they never see ministers doing this.”

One caller to the show questioned Ross’ decision to call on New Year’s Eve, particularly as she lived alone and wasn’t expecting anyone at the time.

“When you’re told by gardaí not to answer the door to unknown callers at night, what was he thinking of?” she said.

“You don’t expect somebody to call at night, on a winter’s night, at 8.45pm on New Year’s Eve … he must have been looking for a party to gate-crash.”

Another caller, who said Ross canvassed her after 8pm on Christmas Eve, said that unexpected visitors at that time created an “air of suspicion”.

“I do think at a festive time or a family time, it’s not appropriate,” she said.

A number of other callers said they were “delighted” to have the minister visit them, with one praising the move as a “nice gesture”.

Ross said that while he accepted the concerns raised by callers were “fair”, he said that he was wearing a hi-visibility vest on all occasions and that residents “didn’t have to answer the door” to him.

“I’m sorry if you think I did wrong in that,” he said.

“I just wanted to meet people, it’s an opportunity to meet them and say hello.”

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