As 2020 draws to a close, RTÉ News takes a look at seven ways in which the Irish and global economy was changed fundamentally this year.

Having entered the year expecting to have money to spare, 2020 saw the Government undertake an emergency spending programme that involved unprecedented levels of support for individuals and business.

With budget deficits the default position since the financial crisis, the prospect of a 0.2% surplus in 2020 was sure to have made finance officials giddy with delight.

Then the pandemic hit.

What followed was a dramatic increase in Government spending - targeted at both the healthcare sector, but also the businesses and workers impacted by the first lockdown.

A payment for those forced out of work due to Covid - what would become the Pandemic Unemployment Payment - was unveiled, along with a subsidy for businesses that had remained open, but were facing a serious revenue hit all the same.

At its peak in April unemployment reached levels that made the financial crisis look modest, and that would not include the thousands that continued to work with government supports.

By September more than half of all firms had staff who tapped into the Pandemic Unemployment Payment scheme - while more than a fifth had availed of the Temporary or Employee Wage Subsidy Scheme.

And aside from workers' payments the pandemic also prompted the State to aid businesses in other ways. That included the facilitation of lower-cost loans, credit guarantees, as well as grant schemes to make premises Covid compliant, or to aid in other changes to a business.

And while these measures were originally hoped to be short-term, reality soon hit home - as indicated by the morphing of the Temporary Wage Subsidy Scheme into the Employee Wage Subsidy Scheme.

By the latter part of the year, the Government put a €9 billion price tag on its Covid response - with billions more set to be required next year as the pandemic trundles on.

That is set to leave the country with a 6% deficit - as opposed to the 0.2% surplus predicted a year ago - however the fact that tax take was more resilient than anticipated saved the coffers from an even heavier hit.

In the early days of the pandemic the Government projected a 16% fall in Exchequer revenue - but in the end the decline was far lower, as corporation and income tax held up through the year.

Either way, that extra spend forced the State to borrow far more than initially planned, and while borrowing targets for 2021 are more modest, they are still considerably higher than what should have been on the cards for this year.

The good news for the taxpayer is that this borrowing is being done at an extremely good time from an interest rate point of view. But that doesn't change the fact that the money will still have to be repaid at some point all the same.

The hope is that the unprecedented spending being undertaken now will be enough to secure the post-Covid economy, which will make those billion euro bond repayments a far more manageable undertaking.