Concerns have been expressed about customers being left out of pocket as a result of online travel company Selfcatering.ie going out of business.

The company issued a statement saying: "It is with deep regret that after 14 years in business...it has ceased trading with immediate effect."

It acknowledged that customers and suppliers will be inconvenienced and may be financially impacted.

"We apologise for this unreservedly," the statement read, adding that ceasing trading was a last resort and that every effort had been made to prevent the situation.

It advised customers to contact the relevant property owners or caretakers directly so that a solution might be arranged.

Fianna Fáil's Timmy Dooley called on Minister for Tourism, Leo Varadkar to intervene and is warning that thousands of the families may lose out on their pre-paid holidays.

Chief Executive of the Consumer's Association of Ireland, Dermot Jewell said the Government should legislate to ensure that some form of compensation is available to customers of online travel companies that go out of business.

Mr Jewell suggested that a levy to finance a compensation fund, or other measures, should be considered, and added that customers who purchased their holiday using their credit card are protected under the Sale of Goods Act and will be able to get their money back.

However he warned that those who paid in cash, or by cheque or laser card are not protected.

Speaking on RTÉ's Liveline a caller from Galway said that she had paid €750 for her holiday to Lahinch in June.

"I rang the company that owns the houses and they said that they have no money received from Selfcatering.ie.”