The Midwest is facing a significant setback to employment this evening, with hundreds of jobs lost and hundreds more at risk.

The software development company Thomson Scientific has confirmed that it is to cut 200 jobs from its workforce in Limerick.

The company said that after a 30-day period of consultation with employees, it has decided that 200 positions will be declared redundant.

It is expected the redundancies will be completed within 18 months.

Last month the company said it was transferring some of its operations to India, in order to cut costs.

The company is involved in developing software for the legal, financial services, science and healthcare sectors.

Meanwhile, the Government says it will do all it can to help after fears have been expressed about the future of the Proctor and Gamble cosmetics manufacturing plant in Nenagh, Co Tipperary, which employs over 500 workers.

Govt will aid workers - Martin

Workers were told to go home today and to go to a meeting tomorrow to hear the company's plans for the future.

The company has been reviewing its global operations, with the view to closing at least one of its plants.

The Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Micheál Martin said the Government would do what it could to support the company and the workers.

Independent councillor Jim Ryan, who is also Mayor of North Tipperary, said there have been a number of rumours in recent weeks about the future of the plant and it is a very worrying time for workers.

The Proctor and Gamble plant has been in business in Nenagh for the past 25 years and has been the town's biggest employer.

The company manufactures the Oil of Olay and Hugo Boss ranges as well as a wide range of other cosmetics and toiletries.