CAVAN COUNTY Council has taken the unprecedented step of seeking the suspension of the Irish Credit Bureau and a review of the body's procedures. The bureau is an electronic library or database that contains information on the performance of credit agreements between financial institutions and borrowers.

The council has put forward a motion about the number of people being 'blacklisted' to the Economic Regulatory Affairs Joint Oireachtas Committee. Debt-ridden people, struggling to pay loans and credit card bills, are finding themselves blacklisted by the Irish Credit Bureau in the recession and a suspension of the bureau would protect them, the council claims.

"Everyone from young people to entrepreneurs are finding themselves blacklisted by the Irish Credit Bureau for missing minor payments and they are finding it difficult to regain their footing," claimed Shane O'Reilly, the Fianna Fáil councillor behind the move.

The council unanimously backed the plan to lobby the committee after O'Reilly told members that people could be blacklisted for five years for simply missing even one credit card payment, without even being notified.

The bureau's chief executive, Séamus Ó Tighearnaigh, told the Sunday Tribune, "The Irish Credit Bureau does not blacklist anybody. What we do is, with the consent of the citizen, show the credit agreements that each individual has. Our records show the opening balances and the opening dates of each individual agreement.

"They also show what the current balance is. For example, if a credit agreement was taken out in November 2005 for €15,000 and has a balance today of €9,000, then we will show what the repayment performance has been.

"If the person missed last month's repayment it would show the person is one month in arrears. The agreement is held for five years after it is completed.

"We don't say 'do lend' or 'don't lend' to financial institutions. We simply record the truth and the facts as we know them. We are like librarians. It is rubbish to say that we blacklist."