For many businesses in Ireland, the recent imposition of a new round of strict measures to control the spread of coronavirus was seen as a step too far.
Some firms, predominantly in the hospitality and retail trade, warned that they would likely never open their doors again.
However, so far, in the course of the pandemic, the level of business failure has remained remarkably low.
According to figures from Deloitte, which covers the period up to the end of September, the total number of corporate insolvencies in the first nine months of the year was 431 – a reduction, albeit very marginal – on the 439 recorded in the same period last year.
“State-backed initiatives to support struggling companies affected by the Covid crisis, as well as creditor forbearance, including forbearance from the banking sector, have played a major part in preventing an early surge in corporate insolvencies,” David Van Dessel, a financial advisory partner at Deloitte explained.
Indeed, the loan payment breaks – offered by all the main banks from the start of the pandemic – have provided a lifeline to mortgage holders and businesses in what’s been a time of crisis for many.
Central Bank Deputy Governor Ed Sibley said last week that around 11,000, or a fifth of all, SME (small and medium enterprise) loans were on pandemic payment breaks as of early October – just days after the banks stopped formally providing the facility to new applicants and vowed to deal with companies on a ‘case by case’ basis.
Mr Sibley said continued supports would likely be needed by firms in the year ahead and he warned that many would continue to experience problems in the near term.