Applications for personal insolvency arrangements more than doubled in the first three months of this year when compared to the equivalent period in 2016.

The total received between last January and April was 1,144.

The number of arrangements finalised in the same period rose by almost one-fifth to 179.

The Insolvency Service of Ireland said applications increased significantly following the launch of Abhaile, the State-funded service for people in home mortgage arrears.

This offers borrowers a free consultation with a Personal Insolvency Practitioner. 

An analysis by the service of 100 sample cases shows that almost half the arrangements reviewed were completed in a year or less.

Nine out of every ten debtors also stayed in their family homes.