The Ireland Strategic Investment Fund's domestic investments in 2020 were almost exclusively in businesses impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, including €150m to help stabilise Aer Lingus, which is owned by IAG. 

The ISIF was established in 2014 from the cash left in the Pension Reserve Fund after the financial crash to invest on a commercial basis in supporting economic activity and employment in Ireland. 

ISIF was mandated last May to invest up to €2 billion directly into larger firms hit by the pandemic via equity, debt and hybrid instruments.

It said today that 90% of the €430m invested in Ireland in 2020 was for this purpose. 

Most of the direct and indirect investments were so-called "stabilisation investments", including Aer Lingus, €40m to daa, which operations Dublin and Cork airports and €17m to privately-owned lender Finance Ireland. 

ISIF is currently working on a pipeline of over €600m in potential investments, with over two-thirds of those skewed towards "recovery investments", it added. 

The total fund made investment returns of 6.2% in 2020, an increase of over €500m that was driven mainly by its exposure to global funds committed to investing in Ireland. 

That brought ISIF's total gains since inception in 2015 to €1.5 billion, an annual return of 3.1%.

The National Treasury Management Agency's chief executive Conor O'Kelly said the ISIF successfully demonstrated the importance of its flexibility and its ability to deploy capital during 2020, supporting Irish businesses and the Irish economy at a time of unprecedented challenge. 

"The new Pandemic Stabilisation and Recovery Fund is a valuable and effective part of the Government's unprecedented counter-cyclical response to the Covid crisis," he added.

"We are pleased with ISIF's strong investment return of over 6.2% in 2020, producing more than €500m in investment gains which can be used to further invest in Ireland's recovery and long-term future," he added. 

The Minister for Finance, Paschal Donohoe said that the ISIF continued to support economic activity and employment in Ireland despite the challenges of a global pandemic last year. 

He said that since the Government's decision to establish the Pandemic Stabilisation and Recovery Fund, over 90% of ISIF's commitments have backed businesses directly impacted by Covid-19. 

"Over a uniquely challenging period, ISIF's €430m in investments in 2020 means that it has now made investments totalling €5 billion attracting private sector co-investment totalling €8.6 billion," Mr Donohoe said. 

"ISIF's successful investment strategy will help to drive Ireland's economic recovery by enabling strategically important businesses to not only survive the crisis but also to recover and regain longer term momentum," he added.