New bankruptcies fell by 10% last year to 473 from 526, according to the annual report from the Insolvency Service of Ireland.

The report for 2017, which is due to come before Cabinet today, also reveals a 39% rise in the number of applications for insolvency solutions.

These solutions included Relief Notices, Debt Settlement Arrangements and Personal Solvency Arrangements. 

521 people exited bankruptcy during the year, while 118 family homes were also transferred back into the ownership of people who had been bankrupt.

The ISI said its Abhaile scheme - which provides free financial and legal advice and assistance to insolvent householders at risk of losing their homes due to mortgage arrears - was a contributory factor in boosting the number of applications for Personal Insolvency Arrangements by over 50% in 2017.  

A total of 5,083 vouchers were issued to debtors for a free consultation with a PIP last year.

Over 4,00 Personal Insolvency Practitioners had redeemed these vouchers under the Abhaile Scheme.

The ISI noted that over 90% of cases where a formal Personal Insolvency Arrangement has been reached, debtors were able to stay in their homes.