A Rainy Day Fund, set up to help the economy deal with sudden shocks, is "well and truly gone".
Finance Minister Paschal Donohoe says he did not expect the first draw-down to have to deal with a global pandemic.
The Rainy Day Fund was intended to be used as to address severe, unanticipated events. Legislation for the fund passed through Oireachtas back in June 2019.
But in October 2020, the Government approved the drawing-down of €1.5bn of the fund to help deal with the impact of COVID-19.
Minister Donohoe told The Pat Kenny Show the fund has been depleted.
"It's well and truly gone at this point, well and truly gone.
"When I was making the case for the Rainy Day Fund, and for putting money into it, in truth I didn't anticipate that the first draw upon that fund would be for responding back to a pandemic.
"But that is what it was for, and that is what we ended up having to do.
"We will not be making deposits in the Rainy Day Fund for this year.
"What we need to do instead - as our health allows it - is be sensible with how we are spending our money, make the right choice about the Employment Wage Subsidy Scheme, and use both to reduce our borrowing again for this year.
"And that's what we need to do first before we look at the future of the Rainy Day Fund."
But he says he believes things will be positive for 2022.
"We finished up last year with 2.5 million people at work in our country, which is the highest level it had been.
"And I believe if our efforts - particularly in the early part of this year with the pandemic - do prove to be successful, we can expect to see even more people at work here in Ireland.
"And can expect to see the pay that those jobs are making available continue to increase".
And he admits the economy would look a lot different if the pandemic had not hit when it did.
"If we were in a position that we didn't have this disease and didn't have to put so much of our effort against it, we'd now be in a position where we would have had a budget surplus for a few years - which would be the best insurance policy to that risk".
"But I am confident that if we recgonise that risk clearly, we do have the time and the ability to manage it well".
He was speaking as an exchequer deficit of €7.4bn was recorded to the end of December 2021.
This compares with a deficit of €12.3bn in 2020 - an almost €5bn year-on-year improvement.
This was largely driven by increases in tax revenue, which were €68.4bn at the end of the year - up by almost 20% on 2020.
Corporation tax receipts of €15.3bn were almost 30% higher than 2020 - at €3.5bn.