David Carson of Deloitte has been appointed receiver of HMV Ireland.

He will examine the viability of the company and its cost structure, including property occupational costs.

The shops, which were closed today, will remain closed throughout the process.

Deloitte says all efforts will be made to secure a purchaser for the stores.

HMV has 16 shops in the Republic, employing 300 people, and ten in Northern Ireland.

Earlier, the National Consumer Agency questioned the legal basis on which HMV in Ireland is refusing to honour gift vouchers.

The agency said it has established that HMV Ireland is a seperate company to the UK operation - which is entering administration - and should accept vouchers with immediate effect.

The NCA held a meeting with the company today with a view to securing a commitment that vouchers will be honoured. 

At the meeting, the NCA was informed that HMV is currently not trading, pending clarification of their legal position and advice from their solicitors.

The UK music and entertainment retailer HMV admitted defeat yesterday after more than 90 years in business, suspending trading in its shares and calling in administrators to try to salvage any viable parts of the business.

HMV was the last big retail chain selling recorded music in Britain and employs more than 4,000 people working in 238 stores, which will remain open for the time being.

The company's UK management confirmed that it had failed to gain agreements with lenders and suppliers to continue trading. It has appointed three partners of Deloitte LLP to administer the business.

The name HMV stands for "his master's voice," from the company's trademark of a dog named Nipper staring intently at the bell of an early gramophone player. The first HMV music store was opened in London in 1921. In 1986 the company opened a store in Canada, and later moved into the US, Japan, Australia, Hong Kong and Singapore.

HMV suffered from the high costs of running too many shops in high-rent city centres, while competitors selling online have lower overheads. Despite steadily losing market share to Internet sellers, HMV still has about 20% of the UK music and video market, which includes both downloads and discs.

The same pressure of rapidly changing technology, combined with Britain's sluggish economy, recently swamped two other major British retailers, appliance dealer Comet and the Jessops camera shops.