New figures from credit risk analyst CRIFVision-Net show a 48% increase in insolvencies in the first six months of 2023 compared to the same time last year.

A total of 410 insolvencies were recorded in the first half of this year, up from 277 the same time in 2022.

The first half of the year saw significant insolvency growth in sectors including hospitality (+214%), construction (+148%) and financial services (+37%).

Dublin, with a figure of 35% and Cork, at 65%, both recorded double-digit growth in insolvencies. But Limerick and Galway performed more positively, recording decreases of 43% and 19% respectively in the number of insolvencies.

On a more positive note, today's figures also show a 7% increase in company startups in the first half of the year, with 20 counties recording year-on-year increases.

Key economic centres Dublin (+7%), Cork (+5%) and Galway (+8%) all recorded modest annual growth, while Limerick was the only large urban population to record a decrease in new startups.

CRIFVision-Net said that economic bellweather sectors such as hospitality (+12%), real estate (+10%), IT (+9%), financial services (6%) and construction (+6%) all recorded growth, however, from a relatively low 2022 baseline. But manufacturing saw a 9% decrease in new startups.

Today's figures show that May was the busiest month for new company startups (2,527), while February was the quietest (1,723).

Christine Cullen, Managing Director of CRIFVision-net, said that evaluating the first six months of 2023 was far from a straightforward exercise.

"At a global level, we continue to grapple with economic uncertainty, high interest rates, and a rising cost of living. Despite these macro-economic pressures, the Irish economy has on balance, proven more resilient than some of our neighbours," Ms Cullen said.

"Corporate tax receipts are up and the Irish Government finds itself in the novel position of trying to decide how to allocate an €8 billion budget surplus. That said, the continued rise in insolvencies is a reminder that these headline numbers don't tell the full story," she stated.

"As we turn our attention to the second half of the year, we hope to see a more business sentiment amongst Irish consumers and SMEs, and that this sentiment will materialise as a confidence, growth orientated mindset going into 2024," she added.