Eircom has been granted an interim examiner beginning what is believed to be the biggest examinership in Irish corporate history.

In the High Court this morning, Mr Justice Peter Kelly said he is satisfied the company is insolvent and has a reasonable prospect of survival.

Michael McAteer of Grant Thornton has been appointed as interim examiner.

Mr Justice Kelly said the history of the company since its flotation in 1999 made sad reading for the State and its citizens.

He said it was a game of corporate pass the parcel where the players won and the parcel lost.

Eircom has debts of almost €4bn.

Mr Kelly said he was aware that 1,000 jobs were in jeopardy but he said while they may lose out, it would be a better outcome than if the company was wound up.

He made an order appointing the interim examiner, extending the court's protection to the company and said notices must be placed in the Wall Street Journal and the Financial Times as well as Irish papers.

The examinership petition will be heard on 18 April.