THE prospects for 300 jobs at music retailer HMV appeared bleak last night after a receiver was appointed to the Irish arm of the operation.
He will examine the viability of the company and its cost structure, including the cost of rental properties, a statement from Deloitte said.
The shops, which were closed yesterday, will remain closed throughout this process. Deloitte said all efforts would be made to secure a purchaser for the stores.
All staff are now on temporary lay-off pending any potential sale. However, it is understood, should any buyer emerge, it would be up to the purchaser if the staff are kept on.
HMV has 16 shops in the Republic, employing 300 people, and 10 in Northern Ireland.
Last night staff at two of HMV's outlets in Limerick city staged a sit-in.
Fourteen staff were sitting in the Cruises Street outlet, while a similar number were at the Crescent Shopping Centre branch. They are looking for assurances that all of their wages will be paid in full.
There were indications that the financial problems at HMV Ireland were worse than HMV in the UK, which admitted defeat on Tuesday after more than 90 years in business, suspending trading in its shares and calling in administrators to try to salvage any viable parts of the business.
Business experts said the fact that a receiver had been appointed in Ireland, rather than an examiner, meant that the banks owed money were concerned about getting their loans back.
An examiner is usually appointed when a business is viable, with the examiner acting to protect jobs and secure the future of the business.
Leading retail union Mandate said it believed the staff were largely unorganised and it had less than 20 union members in the Irish operation.
HMV was the last big retail chain selling recorded music in Britain, and employs more than 4,000 people working in 238 stores, with the shops in the UK still open for the time being.
It is understood the Irish firm will be sold separately to the UK company should any approaches come from potential buyers.
A spokesman for Deloitte last night said it was too early to say if there had been any interest displayed in buying the firm.
The receiver was appointed by a consortium of banks; however, this followed a request from the board of directors of the Irish firm.