20,997 new companies were registered here in 2016, according to figures from Vision-Net.ie which compiles figures on start-ups and insolvencies.

2016 marked the first time in nearly 20 years that the figure of new companies surpassed the 20,000 level.

The number was up 8% on 2015 and was also the second highest annual tally in 36 years.

Today's figures from Vision-Net.ie show that the finance and construction sectors performed strongly in 2016. 

A total of 2,959 new finance companies were set up this year, up 44% on 2015, while the number of new construction firms rose by 14% from 1,640 new companies in 2015 to 1,876 in 2016.

Dublin accounted for the vast majority of new businesses during the year with 45.5% of all new company start-ups in 2016.

This was followed by Cork (12%), Galway (4%), Kildare (3.5%) and Limerick (3%). 

Meanwhile, a total of 984 insolvencies were recorded last year, a 10% drop on figure of 1,096 in 2015.  

Vision-Net said that this was the first time fewer than 1,000 insolvencies have been recorded in a single year since 2008.

Christine Cullen, Managing Director of Vision-net.ie, said the figures clearly demonstrate the country's economic resurgence. 

"Following the publication of 2015’s excellent figures, we talked about a robust and visible recovery. This year, it's plain to see that Ireland has entered a completely new post-austerity economic cycle powered by strong growth," Ms Cullen stated. 

"Record-breaking company start-up numbers, the lowest number of insolvencies since the onset of recession and consistent growth in sectors devastated by the crash, like finance and construction, are all indicators of this," she said. 

"Our economy is more open to lending and risk-taking, and our businesses are eager to expand and undertake new projects," she added.