Minister for Finance Paschal Donohoe has acknowledged that many businesses will "find it hard going" as the economy reopens.

Speaking at the Fine Gael Ard Fheis, which was held online, the Fine Gael TD for Dublin Central committed to ensure that pubs and hotels would be "safe places to meet".

Mr Donohoe said that "hospitality is an incredible part of society" and added that many people were struck by how quiet many of the high streets were during the recent lockdown.

He added that the priority was to ensure that the tens of thousands of small businesses were able to recommence trading.

Mr Donohoe said that Government had committed to ensure that supports, such as the Covid Restriction Support Scheme (CRSS), were kept in place as the economy reopens.

Minister for State at the Department of Enterprise Damien English also called on employers to facilitate remote working as restrictions lift.

The Ard Fheis also heard from Co Offaly publican and Fine Gael councillor John Clendennan, who said that the supports provided by the Government were worth 25% of the net profit of an outlet.

"I really hope the supports will outlive the restrictions," he added.

He said that businesses were facing a skills shortage as they tried to hire new staff and restart their businesses.