The total cost of the Covid-19 pandemic incurred by the State is estimated to be almost €30bn.

The Comptroller and Auditor General has issued his report on the Accounts of the Public Services for 2021.

The report shows a breakdown of Covid-19 related costs in the year ending February 2022 is estimated at €12.4bn, the previous year the cost was €17.1bn.

The highest spending among Government departments were Social Protection, Health, Housing, Local Government and Heritage.

The Department of Social Protection spent a total of €18.7bn in Covid-19 supports such as the employment wage subsidy scheme (EWSS) and the pandemic unemployment payment (PUP) schemes in the two years following the start of the pandemic in March 2020.

The Department of Health accounts show nearly half of its expenditure was on testing and tracing and vaccines - estimated at €1.2bn.

The Department's peak spend was with the emergence of the omicron variant of the coronavirus in December 2021.

The Comptroller and Auditor General has reported significant concerns that some businesses incorrectly availed of the Covid-19 support schemes; the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme (EWSS) and the Covid Restrictions Support Scheme (CRSS) due to a suspension of tax clearance status by Revenue.

During the pandemic, Revenue suspended the automated checks due to the significant strains businesses were under with Covid-19 restrictions.

Last year, Revenue aimed to identify CRSS and EWSS recipients who had tax return compliance issues, some of which then had their tax clearance rescinded.

Due to that, the report from the C&AG has highlighted concerns that a "significant number" of businesses continued to receive financial supports when they should not have.