Sinn Féin Finance Spokesman Pearse Doherty has called on Minister for Finance Michael Noonan to put more resources into the Money Advice and Budgeting Service.

It follows reports that people are waiting up to 20 weeks for a first face-to-face appointment with MABS.

Mr Doherty said the service is under severe pressure, saying demand had increased by 70% from 2008 to 2012, with only a 2% increase in budget.

He asked the minister to look at the figures and allocate extra resources.

MABS official Michael Culloty has said some people in debt are waiting an "inordinate" amount of time for a consultation, but said people will always be dealt with.

Speaking on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland, he said anyone who feels their case is urgent can be placed on a "priority list".

He said 1,000 people had cases fast-tracked with face-to-face meetings by MABS last quarter.

Mr Culloty said that some cases can be delayed by staff changes, redeployments or sick leave.

He acknowledged that some areas have longer delays than others when it came to processing cases, such as north Donegal, Meath and south Mayo.