More than 10 companies a week went bust last year in the State after their creditors forced them into liquidation. A lot more businesses quietly and voluntarily went out of business.
That is the nature of a market economy even in the best of times, and last year was about as good as it gets. Now we are plunging into the worst of economic times. Tens of thousands of firms, employing hundreds of thousands of people, are in serious trouble in this country. Much of the rest of the world is in the same boat.
Most Irish businesses have either no cash coming in or have much reduced incomes, according to the latest CSO survey. Barring a medical breakthrough of miraculous proportions in the very short term, 2020 will be the worst year for corporate deaths since the depths of the last recession. It could easily become the worst year ever.
Cash is to businesses what oxygen is to the human body. Just as a person trapped in an air pocket obsesses about conserving air, many people who run businesses think of little else other than how they can conserve cash in order to survive.
Too many businesses, alas, will not make it. The shock to the economy has already been enormous. The scale of what is to come is still not widely understood. This period is the calm before the bankruptcy storm.
Deloitte, an accounting and professional services firm, tots up the number of companies which file for bankruptcy every three months. In the first three months of 2020, which included the first weeks of lockdown, fewer companies went bust this year than the same period of last year. That was part of the trend in evidence since the trough of the last recession almost a decade ago.
Deloitte's David Van Dessel said that since new arrangements to allow creditors to meet virtually were put in the place in recent weeks, the number of companies being pushed down towards bankruptcy has risen. It will rise a lot more over the rest of the year and into 2021.
There is growing desperation for the Government to do more to help companies survive. The only thing that is certain is that recriminations will arise whatever actions are taken: either the Government will give too much money to businesses and be accused of handing public money to private interests; or it will give too little and be accused of killing off otherwise viable businesses to the detriment of everyone.
Could Europe ride to the rescue? On Monday, France and Germany announced their support for the European Commission to borrow €500bn. The money would be given to the sectors and regions in the EU which have been hardest hit by the effects of the virus.
Unlike some other EU spending plans in the past, this would be real money, not flashy financial engineering.
Some serious commentators have likened this to the moment in the early history of the United States when the debts of the individual states were pooled. That was an important milestone in America becoming, arguably, the most successful state ever to exist.
The Franco-German plan will certainly be a very significant development if all other 25 member countries agree to it. If it happens, which is by no means certain, it will make the EU more like a sovereign state than it is now.
But even if the plan gets the green light, it won't amount to a European rescue of member states. To see why, consider the sums. If the half a trillion euro were divvied out by population, Ireland would get a little more than €5bn. That is not to be sneezed at, but it would not be a game-changer - the Government currently expects a €30bn coronavirus bill this year alone.
Ireland, which is already richer than the average EU country, could well receive less than €5bn. Some of the economy's most important sectors - pharmaceuticals, technology, financial services and food - have been among the least affected from the revenue-crushing effects of the pandemic. If they continue to weather the storm, Ireland should suffer less economically than other European countries. We would therefore receive less of the proposed new borrowings by Brussels.
If big questions about deeper European integration have risen up the agenda this week, so has its long-running disintegration saga - Brexit, and more specifically the prospect a no-deal Brexit at the end of the year.
Talks between the EU and the UK are going badly. The gap between the two sides yawns wider than ever and time is running out.
The EU, as the more powerful side, is exercising its power in the talks. It wants to limit how much the UK can gain a competitive advantage once it is fully outside the European law-making process.
London is railing against this. Earlier this week, the UK's lead negotiator wrote to his EU counterpart saying no democratic country could sign up to what the EU wants.
A no-deal Brexit could mean tariffs on Irish food products going into the UK. It would also certainly mean intense competition in that market from cheaper southern hemisphere producers.
The country's farmers usually exaggerate problems in their industry and constantly complain about the challenges they face. It is, however, hard to exaggerate the threat posed to the sector from a no-deal Brexit.
The last thing that is needed when some sectors are facing collapse in 2020 is for one of the rural economy's most important sectors to face a hit of this magnitude in 2021.