As troubled private business firms clamour for Government support in the run-up to October’s budget, do not forget that some of the biggest casualties belong to the Government itself. There will be quite a bill for operating subsidies and balance sheet repairs for the State commercial companies.

In the worst months, public transport volumes simply collapsed. Passenger numbers were down by at least 90% and they have made only a weak recovery. Companies such as Irish Rail, Dublin Airport and the two State bus operators have high fixed costs and have been slow to cut back, so they have begun to incur horrendous losses.