The Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation, Richard Bruton, said he has been in contact with Bank of America officials followings its decision to exit its credit card business in Ireland and the UK.

The company owns MBNA in Ireland which employs around 1,000 people in Carrick-on-Shannon.

A Bank of America spokesman was quoted as saying it had not yet decided whether to sell or wind down the Irish operation, which in 2004 was named the best place to work in Europe.

Mr Bruton said he had also spoken to the IDA to ask them to work closely with the company to help them find a buyer for the credit card business as a going concern.

The Carrick-on-Shannon offices provide telephone support for Irish and UK customers.

The decision to leave the Irish and UK credit card markets follows numerous similar withdrawals by the company in other countries.

Bank of America also employs 700 people at two other sites in Dublin, but today's announcement does not affect them.