Irish shoppers have paid little heed to Cowen's call for patriotism

Retail Ireland has estimated that cross-border shopping during the month of November has cost the Republic over 1,700 jobs. The retail sector has already shed 30,000 jobs in the last 12 months alone.

This month it is estimated that the government will lose $51million in tax revenue to Northern retailers.

Director Torlach Denihan said, "If cross-border shopping continues at this rate during December, similar numbers of jobs will be lost, with particular devastation in border counties Cavan, Louth, Monaghan and Donegal."

It is expected that a further 11,000 people will lose their jobs because of cross-border shopping.

According to Mr Denihan most of those who shop in the North do so to avail of cheaper alcohol. He has called on the government to lower excise duty by 20 percent to entice shoppers back to the Republic.

The Northern government receives hundreds of millions of dollars a year in cross-border schemes and financial aid. The border town of Newry has turned into a mini Celtic tiger, with retailers reporting a 70 percent increase in trade.

It is estimated that Irish shoppers will spend more than $1.4billion in the North this year.

Mr Denihan has asked the Irish government to reduce VAT, review commercial rates and make retail workers eligible for an employment subsidy scheme.

Earlier this year the Taoiseach Brian Cowen asked shoppers to be patriotic and buy their goods in the south of Ireland. But his calls for patriotism have fallen on deaf ears and one job is lost for every 150 people that shop in the North.