The country's second largest tour operator Thomas Cook has announced plans to end its high street presence in Ireland, and cancel its summer charter flights from Irish airports.

The company has also entered into a 30-day consultation with colleagues in Dublin with a view to closing its business support function based in Ireland.

The proposal potentially affects 44 employees in the business.

In a statement Thomas Cook UK and Ireland said it plans to move exclusively online and away from charter holidays.

The company said it will no longer be offering charter holidays from 30 April 2014.

A small number of customers who had already booked a summer charter holiday with Thomas Cook's Irish tour operator are to be contacted and offered an alternative package holiday, or a full refund.

Customers who opt to rebook their holiday with Thomas Cook will be offered a 10% discount.

The company said the proposal to move exclusively online comes as a result of changing trends in the Irish leisure market with a move away from charter products towards online business.

Thomas Cook said it would continue to offer holidays to Irish customers through its website.

Managing Director of Thomas Cook UK & Ireland Reto Wilhelm said:  "We are committed as always to exceeding customer expectations and want to respond to the changes in the Irish market and be there for our customers 24/7.”