Four Irish companies a day went bust last year, according to a new report.

The extraordinary rate of bankruptcies shows how deep the financial crisis has hit the country says, which compiled the report.

 The year ended on a bad note with 156 companies, a record amount, going under in December.

The number of bankruptcies was up 82 per cent from the year before and 287 per cent higher than similar business failures in 2007.

The construction industry was the hardest hit, with 453 companies going bust last year, 49 alone in December.

The services sector was next hardest hit with 278 bankruptcies, retail sales lost 201 companies, hospitality had 154 companies go broke, while car sales companies were decimated with 58 companies going under as new sales plummeted.

Ken Fennell, from Kavanagh Fennell, the accountancy firm behind the website, said that numbers would continue to increase this year only leveling off in the last quarter.

“For the coming year, the outlook remains pessimistic as the rate of insolvency will be similar to 2009, with a peak mid-year followed by a gradual reduction in the last quarter of 2010,” Fennell said.

He described the increase in company failures in 2009 as “staggering.”