The President of the Mullingar Chamber of Commerce has called for urgent measures to be taken to protect jobs in the retail sector.

The call comes after a new survey confirmed today that 100 workers have been made redundant in the Co Westmeath town since the economic downturn began.

Paul O'Brennan said a survey carried out by the chamber of commerce on 357 outlets in the Mullingar town had revealed that 50 were now closed or vacant.

Mr O'Brennan said traders were adamant that emergency measures such as reductions in commercial rates and special incentives for entrepreneurs were now essential if employment levels are to be retained and new jobs created.

Mr O'Brennan added, however, that things were not all bad in Mullingar.

He said there was a small drop in the number of people on the Live Register in the town last month.

The chamber's president said it will be working hard to try and create new jobs, but added that the support of Government was essential.