The Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform has warned Cabinet colleagues that spending related to Covid-19 is temporary and must soon be wound down.

Michael McGrath is understood to have emphasised that this expenditure is one-off in nature and will not form part of the base figures in future budgets.

A memo from the minister went to Cabinet today that showed pandemic spending will top €30 billion over a 22-month period to the end of this year.

Mr McGrath made his comments after Cabinet approved an extra €105 million to provide for the safe return of students to places of higher education next autumn.

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Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris said this would include an extra €3m for student mental health, €10m for the Student Assistance Fund and €8m to support disadvantaged learners.

Mr McGrath is also set to soon publish spending review papers in areas such as health, enterprise and education.