Finance Minister Michael Noonan has said the Government is insisting the banks do more about the levels of mortgage arrears.

The Minister said the issue has gone on for far too long and the Government is disappointed that tackling the problem has not happened sooner.

Speaking in Limerick, Mr Noonan said the banks now had the statistics, the menu of solutions and the properly trained staff to deal with the issue.

He said he hoped there would be more progress on this difficulty in a specified time frame in the months ahead.

The Minister said the issue of mortgage arrears had to be dealt with first of all in the interests of those in arrears, but also for the country.

''You could not have 100,000 families in a small country like Ireland who are not participating in the growth of the country, and they can not participate because they are burdened with debt,'' he stated.