The main group that represents retailers in Ireland is calling on the Government to cut taxes and increase public spending in the next budget.

Retail Ireland says consumer unease caused by the sharp decline in the value of sterling since the Brexit vote is putting pressure on the retail sector.

It warns against measures that would impose extra costs on businesses and employment such as increasing the minimum wage. 

The organisation said the marginal tax rate here, which it states is one of the highest in Europe, should be increased in line with wage growth.

In addition, Retail Ireland wants the Government to establish a "town centre" fund, which would provide financing for local businesses in towns and villages around the country.

It also said the recent recommendation by the Low Pay Commission to increase the National Minimum Wage will, if accepted, further increase labour costs at what it described as a time of heightened competitive pressure.

Retail Ireland Director Thomas Burke said: "Ireland is uniquely exposed to Brexit's chill winds. Consumer confidence has fallen back, after months of strong growth, and retailers say positive momentum has slowed in recent weeks.

"Sterling's sharp fall has intensified competition from Northern Ireland and UK online retailers. While domestic retailers are moving quickly to adapt to the new environment, the government must also take decisive steps in Budget 2017."