The maintenance of wage supports, a review of taxation practice, a capital funding scheme for arts buildings and fair remuneration for artists are among the recommendations of an expert group set up to plan for the survival of the arts sector following the impact of Covid-19.

The Expert Advisory Group to the Arts Council included Oscar nominated filmmaker Lenny Abrahamson, musician Martin Hayes and the director and chair of the Arts Council.

The group said that the coronavirus created a paradox for the arts, as people turned to them for comfort and cultural engagement while at the same time the sector itself faced a "profound existential threat".

It warned that without support, the arts sector may not go back to 2019 levels of employment until 2025.

Thousands of artists and arts workers saw their employment disappear when Covid-19 closed theatres, galleries and arts centres last March.

On Monday the Government published a €25 million package to help the sector, which has been described by Arts Council director Maureen Kennelly as "crucial reassurance for this vibrant sector".

Speaking to RTÉ's Morning Ireland, Ms Kennelly said that money will be used to help areas that need it in the arts and a priority will be bursaries for artists and those who work behind the scenes.

"With a stimulus package and a strategic approach, we believe the arts can not only survive but thrive, helping to lead the country in the recovery, and to restore our society’s morale and confidence," said Ms Kennelly.

When asked about a return to normal, she anticipates it is "still quite a way off" and that social distancing will make it hard.

She said while many people in the arts sector have called for a relaxation of the two-metre rule she said public health safety is also a concern.

She said they are looking at ways the area can be supported in the absence of a full audience.

"It is quite a way off that."

Speaking on the same programme, renowned fiddle player Mr Hayes said the pandemic has brought his work to a stop, like almost all musicians and performing artists he knows.

He said many have been trying to do things online to continue to connect with their audience but he said the "only problem with the digital world is there is virtually no revenue model there".

He cannot imagine a return to normal before 18 months to two years.

He said it is about people feeling safe and comfortable about coming to performances.

He said most artists are bracing themselves for the long haul.

Meanwhile, the Arts Council has endorsed the Advisory Group report.

Chair, Professor Kevin Rafter said: "With the government's decision this week to increase the Arts Council’s budget to €100m the first objective of the Advisory Group has been achieved.

"This additional funding will help the Arts Council protect jobs and livelihoods for individual artists and also assist key art organisations facing financial difficulty. We would like to thank the members of the group for their important work."

Arts Minister Josepha Madigan has also welcomed the report, saying it will provide valuable guidance and she said the Government is committed to supporting artists, arts practitioners and cultural workers.