The national debt stood at €226 billion at the end of last year, according to the Department of Finance's Annual Report on Public Debt in Ireland.
That is equal to €44,250 for every man, woman and child in the country and is one of the highest per-capita debt burdens in the world, according to the report.
Debt as a percentage of the size of the economy is going down, however.
Last year it was equal to 86.4% of GNI* which is a measure of the economy which strips out some of the effects of the multinational sector. This year it is projected to decline further to 81.6% of GNI*.
At its height during the Covid crisis, gross national debt was €236.1 billion in 2021 or 101% of GNI*.
Before Covid in 2019, gross debt was €203.4 billion or 96.5% GNI*.
At its height relative to what was a smaller economy, debt during the financial crisis rose to 165% GNI* in 2012.
Today's report says in the short-term, the war in Ukraine and tightening monetary policy have implications for the public finances as does "any fallout from the ICT sector shock".
Over the longer term, the ageing population and climate change "pose challenges".
We need your consent to load this rte-player contentWe use rte-player to manage extra content that can set cookies on your device and collect data about your activity. Please review their details and accept them to load the content.Manage Preferences
The report also notes that the way public debt is structured "insulates" the public finances from increases in interest rates in the short term.
It says approximately three quarters of gross national debt is at rates below 2%, while the average maturity of our debt is over ten years.
However, it warns that refinancing our debt will cost more because bond rates have risen.
It also warns the public finances are exposed to a potential shock when it comes to corporation tax "particularly when combined with an underlying shock to domestic activity" that might happen prior to any hit to corporation tax receipts.
The Minister for Finance Michael McGrath said the analysis published today highlights the risks now facing the country's public finances after the unavoidable increase in public indebtedness during the pandemic.
"The war in Ukraine and the associated energy price shock have induced a cost-of-living crisis, placing renewed pressure on the State's fiscal position," Mr McGrath said.
But he said that several structural features of the country's debt, with the majority of it locked in at fixed prices and relatively long maturities, insulate us somewhat from the changing interest rate environment brought about by these shocks.
"Nevertheless, the re-financing of our existing debt over the medium-term will most likely lead to increased debt servicing costs, the first call on the public finances," he stated.
The Minister said the Government is also aware of the major challenges on the horizon.
"The need to finance an ambitious infrastructural plan, as well as shifting demographics and the transition of economic activity to carbon-neutrality, will impose large costs on the public finances," he said.
"Additionally, the public finances are vulnerable to a shock to corporation tax receipts or to the multinational sector in Ireland generally, which could potentially result in a very large deficit," he stated.
Mr McGrath said it is essential that the public finances stand ready to deal with these challenges, adding that the report underlines the need for prudent management of debt and the re-building of our fiscal buffers.
Speaking at the launch of the Annual Report on Public Debt in Ireland 2022 today, the Minister for Finance gave his response to calls from the ECB to roll back cost-of-living support schemes.
"I understand the economic logic behind what the President of the ECB said but governments have to make decisions that are right for their own respective countries and we do have to consider the reality of the cost of living pressures that households are facing in their day-to-day lives and that for me is going to be the critical issue," Michael McGrath said.
"Of course, we have to be careful not to do anything that adds to inflation or stops the decline or slows down the decline in inflation but we are seeing that decline, is very welcome," he said.
"We will consider the viewpoint of the ECB but in the same way we respect their independence when it comes to monetary policy. Fiscal decisions are made at a national level and we will make the decisions in the interests of the people we represent in the country we serve here in Ireland," he added.
The Minister also repeated that the Government is considering extending some of the cost-of-living supports which are due to expire at the end of this month but added that "we cannot continue with that level of support indefinitely".