Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar said he is concerned about the rising cost of energy and materials, as it will have a significant impact on business and on Government.

He said the hope is that it is a blip caused by the Covid-19 pandemic and other matters and that price inflation will ease through the course of next year.

"But ultimately, I don't think we can take that for granted," he added.

The Tánaiste was speaking at the launch of Enterprise Ireland's International Markets Week today.

In relation to the energy supply situation, Mr Varadkar said the Government has a lot of people around the table working on it.

He said he is reasonably confident but not complacent that if the two gas fired power stations currently offline come back online in the next few weeks it will get us through the worst of the challenge.

"This is the tightest period at the moment in terms of energy supply, if those two stations come back over the next few weeks that reduces the risk of any other interruptions pretty significantly," he said.

Mr Varadkar added that a plan has been developed to ensure we have more energy for the coming few winters.

He acknowledged that he is concerned about labour shortages here, although it is not on a scale similar to the UK.

He said he has been hearing about the problem from nearly every business sector and there are a lot of different reasons for it.

The phasing out of the Pandemic Unemployment Payment will help as will the resumption of migration, he predicted.

He also said the Government is also planning to update legislation on work permits by the end of the year.

Regarding Brexit, Mr Varadkar said it is still unfolding.

There are still the issues around the Northern Ireland protocol as it is not being fully applied and Britain also has yet to impose its checks and controls, he stated.

"Then there is the impact of any trade deals it does with any third countries and how that might potentially displace us and our exports," he claimed.

"Unfortunately, this is still unfolding and we're going to continue to see the effect of Brexit for years and years to come. It is never going to be done, it is a permanent change for the worse unfortunately in that relationship. But there are also opportunities for us as well, the Tánaiste stated.

On the topic of climate change, Leo Varadkar said industry accounts for 13% of all Ireland’s emissions and that needs to reduce by half by 2030.

He described that as a tall order and an ambitious target, but one we have to try to achieve.

"I would hope that more and more though people in business will see climate action and sustainability as an economic opportunity as well," he said.