The Government is engaged in confidential talks with Aer Lingus about providing further financial supports for the airline.

Tánaiste Leo Varadkar told the Dáil today that the State is already providing a lot of financial support through Ireland's Strategic Investment Fund and through the temporary wage subsidy scheme.

"We will provide more to enable us to retain essential connectivity like for example Heathrow, like for example the US and those key hubs in Europe and also for cargo," he told the Dáil.

"But the sad truth now is that it could be a very long time before we see aviation recover. I know some people are saying we may have passed peak aviation. I'm not saying that but some people are saying that," Mr Varadkar said.

"So saving all jobs and saving all routes may not be possible but we do want to protect the company and ensure that it is there for essential connectivity in to the future."

Earlier, he had told the Dáil that the airline would not be allowed to fail.

In response to questions from Sinn Féin's Louise O'Reilly, Minister Varadkar said: "Just to say very clearly that Aer Lingus will not be allowed to fail. It is already receiving substantial financial support from the Government."

He said confidential discussions are under way involving the Ministers for Finance and Transport "on further support for the company, so that it is there when we need it again".

"When I say we won't let Aer Lingus fail I don't want to create the impression that it in any way is about to fail or anything like that," he added.

Social Democrats co-leader Catherine Murphy said she welcomed the Tánaiste's statement that Aer Lingus will not be allowed to fail.