An Post has said it has begun disciplinary proceedings against a number of its employees after racist material was circulated by email within the company.

An Post was alerted to the email by RTÉ after it received a copy. It showed that it had been sent from an An Post employee's email account.

The email also appears to have been circulated within three other Government organisations. Those organisations say they are investigating the matter.

The chain email contains abusive material relating to immigrants. It urges recipients to forward it to other taxpayers and to TDs.

An Post said the email did not originate in the company, but was received from an external source earlier this week.

The company says it had limited circulation between a very small number of staff before being forwarded to a number of external email addresses.

An Post says it is taking the matter very seriously and is dealing with it under internal disciplinary procedures.