The country's largest public sector union, Fórsa, and think-tank TASC have called for a bigger role for the state in report entitled "The Irish State Post-Pandemic".

The report puts forward a broad range of policy proposals covering the public finances, social protection, childcare, higher education and renewable energy.

Its key recommendations include maintaining the qualifying age for the state pension at 66 and increasing expenditure on public pensions by up to 1% of GNI*.

It also calls for employers' and self-employed PRSI rates to be increased by 1%.

The report makes the case for raising additional tax revenue through the phasing out of Captial Gains Tax relief and updating property values in the calculation of property tax, which would result in a higher tax take.

It also calls for the phasing out of fossil fuel subsidies.

On childcare, it calls for early childhood learning to be integrated into the primary school system and for salaries to be subsidised by the state.

It also proposes that the state should move to a model that "relies primarily on public provision".

On higher education, it recommends that the hiring cap for permanent staff in the sector should be lifted.

It also recommends that spending in the sector should be increased to the 2000's level of 1% of GNI* and that publicly-funded R&D should also be increased.

It has also called for a trebling of public funding for research and development in renewable energy.