The High Court has appointed an interim examiner to the house and garden centre chain Homebase Ireland.

Homebase has 15 stores in the Republic of Ireland and employs 558 people.

The court was told that parent company Home Retail Group will allocate €2.14m to meet trading costs during the 100-day examinership period.

In a statement, Homebase Ireland said it was considering closing three stores - in Fonthill in Dublin, in Carlow and in Castlebar, Co Mayo.

17 full-time and 79 part-time staff are employed at those three stores.

The company said there was potential to redeploy staff from these stores to nearby Argos stores, which are owned by the same parent company.

The future of the other 12 stores depends on landlords' willingness to renegotiate lease terms.

All Homebase stores will continue to trade as normal during the examinership and the company has said that all employees will continue to be paid.

The company has also said that customers' ordered products, pre-payments, credit notes and gift vouchers will be fully honoured.

Homebase Ireland has seen its sales fall by 31% since 2009 and has not made a profit in the past five years.

It said its poor performance was down to the reduction in new house builds as a result of the recession, and lower consumer spending on repair, maintenance and improvement products.

It has also blamed "upward only" rent reviews for its inability to reduce its operating costs.

The company said the purpose of the examinership was to restructure the business to put it back on a "sustainable footing" and that it would try to protect as many jobs as possible.