The Irish Universities' Association has written to Minister for Education Norma Foley urging her to confirm the date for the release of this year's Leaving Cert results as soon as possible.

It emerged yesterday that exam results and college offers may be delayed this year due to the public health need to allow students who have a positive Covid-19 test to sit deferred exams in July.

Exam results are traditionally issued in mid-August, with college offers following a few days later.

However, college and university representatives were told that "logistical challenges" related to the Covid-19 decision mean an exact date for when results will be provided has yet to be confirmed.

The Director General of the Irish Universities' Association told RTÉ's Morning Ireland that clarity is needed so colleges can plan ahead for the autumn.

Jim Miley said his association - representing eight Irish universities - has written to Minister Norma Foley, urging her to confirm a date for the issuing of Leaving Cert results as soon as possible.

Mr Miley pointed out that there is a serious shortage of student accommodation and first year students will be left at a disadvantage if there is a late release of results.

It is forcing students and their families to make very difficult choices, he said.

Mr Miley said the IUA has also urged Ms Foley to hold the Leaving Cert exams in May - a month earlier than usual - going forward.

This would allow results to be released by the end of June, he said.

"This would be a significant step in reducing stress on Leaving Cert students and allow them and their families sufficient time to consider all their options, especially in relation to accommodation."