The Insolvency Service of Ireland has warned the economic impact of Covid-19 may exacerbate the issue of unsustainable debts and create new debt problems for others, especially when the existing emergency financial support measures are cut.
The ISI said the personal insolvency framework remained operational and continued to be available to those who needed it despite logistical challenges due to the restrictions introduced to combat Covid-19.
In its annual report, the ISI said the number of Personal Insolvency Arrangements - the solution that typically deals with mortgage debt - fell by only 3% last year compared to 2019, despite the Covid challenges.
It said that of those borrowers who availed of a PIA, 98% had terms which saw them remain in their family home while 39% of debtors had a reduction in their mortgage debt.
During the year, a total of 1,402 Protective Certificates were issued, 85% of which were for PIAs.
Today's report reveals that a total of 1,362 debt solutions were put in place.
130 people were adjudicated to be bankrupt, with 262 people exiting bankruptcy, it also shows.
The Director of the ISI, Michael McNaughton, said today's report is published as Covid-19 continues to be part of our everyday lives with uncertainty remaining around how it will impact our economy in the longer term.
"Prior to the Covid-19 outbreak there were many people who were struggling with unsustainable debts. The economic impact of Covid-19 may exacerbate these issues and create new debt problems for others, especially when the existing emergency financial support measures are reduced," Michael McNaughton said.
"The personal insolvency framework is there to help people who may find themselves in severe financial difficulty in these circumstances," he added.
Mr McNaughton encouraged anyone with serious debt issues to consult a Personal Insolvency Practitioner or an approved intermediary, details of which are available on www.backontrack.ie or by calling 076 106 4200.
People can also freetext GETHELP to 50015 for a call back from the ISI, he added.