CLIMATE change sceptic Danny Healy-Rae has apologised for an outburst where he said "to hell with the planet".
Mr Healy-Rae has now withdrawn remarks and insisted he cares about the planet "as much as the people in it".
An opinion poll before the election put Mr Healy-Rae - who previously told the Dáil "God controls the weather" - at risk of losing his seat in Kerry to the Green Party's Cleo Murphy.
He is now on course to be re-elected.
Mr Healy-Rae's latest controversial comments came at Kerry count centre.
He said: "“To hell with the planet and the fellas that says we must save the planet and forget about the people. I’m not one of those people. I make no apologies to anyone, anywhere for that and I'll stay with the people as long as the people want me."
Mr Healy-Rae has now apologised.
In a statement this afternoon he said: "If my comments offended anyone, I want to sincerely apologise for that.
"Obviously I care about the planet as much as the people in it, the point I was trying to get across is as much as we must mind the planet, we must be fair to the people."
He apologised again and said he withdraws the remarks.