Fianna Fáil MEP for Ireland South, Billy Kelleher, has apologised for not following HSE advice and self-isolating at home when he flew back from Brussels to attend the election of Micheál Martin as Taoiseach.

In a statement today, he said: "Last Saturday, I attended the election of the new Taoiseach in Dublin having arrived into Ireland from Brussels the day before.

"As I previously stated, I avail of Covid-19 testing services before in advance of departing Brussels in order to reduce any potential public health risk.

"However, despite this, I accept that the risk could not have been eliminated fully and I should have followed HSE advice and remained at home.

"This was an error of judgement on my part and I apologise unreservedly."

Earlier today, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath, responding to a report that Mr Kelleher had failed to self-isolate after his Brussels flight, said elected representatives were not exempt from self-isolation requirements.

He told RTÉ's This Week that elected representatives were essential workers and have been since the start, but the requirements on self-isolation apply to all.

He said he had not had a chance to talk to Mr Kelleher about the issue and that whether the MEP was tested or not does not take away from the point that they apply to everyone.

He said there is an onus on all politicians to lead from the front on that issue. 

Mr McGrath said the rules apply to everyone, and that included public representatives.