The country's Rainy Day Fund is empty, the Public Accounts Committee has heard today.

The Chief Executive of the National Treasury Management Agency Conor O'Kelly said that the Rainy Day Fund stood at €1.5 billion at its peak.

However, all of the money was used during the Covid-19 pandemic.

"There is no funds in the Rainy Day Fund as we speak," Mr O'Kelly told the PAC today.

Mr O'Kelly also said the NTMA oversaw loans to Aer Lingus of €150m during the pandemic, and is in talks with the airline to see if it needs more assistance.

The NTMA also loaned the the Dublin and Cork airports operator Daa €40m, he added.

Mr O'Kelly told the committee that Ireland borrowed just under €36 billion since the start of the pandemic at an average interest rate of 0.16%.

Bond buying by the European Central Bank has been "extraordinary" and is at a rate of "almost one for one", he said.

This is what has allowed Ireland "to borrow so much, so cheaply, and so effectively", he added.

Ireland has "one of the longest maturities in Europe at just under 11 years" and there are no funding cliffs, he added.

Seamus McCarthy, the Comptroller and Auditor General, told the committee that the national debt in 2020 was €219.5 billion, up €12.75 billion, or 6%, on the end 2019 due to the pandemic.

However, the cost of servicing the debt continued to fall in 2020, due to refinancing.

It cost €4.7 billion, half a billion euro less than in 2019, he added.