Thousands of people are expected to avail of the Insolvency Service of Ireland service within the next year, its Director Lorcan O'Connor has said.

Mr O'Connor told the Oireachtas Finance Committee that while the initial uptake of debt relief schemes was slow, he was confident it would grow significantly over the coming months.

This time last year insolvent debtors were not obtaining debt agreements with creditors, he said, but added that the situation is very different now.

He said the service had been a significant catalyst for this change and that the agency had taken on its 500th case in March.

Once protocols on debt settlement arrangements are complete, he said, it would be followed by personal insolvency arrangement protocols, which will deal with the additional aspects of secured debt.

Mr O'Connor said while the service was neither pro-debtor nor pro-creditor, he was disappointed but not surprised by comments made by particular creditors who were recently before the committee.

They had been blunt about how they would approach personal insolvency arrangements, he said.

He said the legislation carefully balances the interests of both debtors and creditors when dealing with secured debt.

If a creditor stands in the way of a solution, there were mechanisms available to debtors to deal with this, he added.