More than a third of housing loans issued by local authorities are in arrears of more than one month.

Figures obtained by RTÉ News also show that city, county, town and borough councils are owed more than €25m from people behind in their payments.

Local authorities across the country have just over 24,000 of these loans on their books worth more than €1.3bn.

The level of arrears varies across local authorities.

Among the highest are Athlone Town Council (65%), Monaghan County Council (64%) and Westmeath County Council (62%).

Fingal County Council in Dublin has the lowest rate at just 10%.

The County and City Managers Association, which represents local authorities, said that they are a lender of last resort and the clients they lend to are therefore higher risk.

They said the actual value of the arrears is only 2% of the total loan book and that arrears are not having an impact on individual councils finances but they say they are concerned about those who are in difficulty.

Financial experts say it raises questions about the way councils lend.

Karl Deeter of Irish Mortgage Brokers says the level of arrears is six times worse than those reported by banks and said that the fact the councils are not regulated by the Financial Regulator was a cause for concern.

Despite the level of arrears, over the past ten years, councils have repossessed just 79 homes.

They say it is something they do as a last resort and that they work with their customers as soon as they fall into arrears to arrange a way for their debts to be repaid.

A spokeswoman for the Financial Regulator says there are provisions in the Consumer Credit Act for local authority loans to be regulated but that this can only be done on the instruction of the Minister for Finance.