Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly has confirmed that there will be an exemption to hotel quarantine for elite and professional athletes.

But he added that governing bodies of elite sports would have to "put in place equivalent situations".

The regulations exempting elite athletes from the requirement to quarantine in a hotel were signed into law on Friday morning.

When asked by RTÉ's Prime Time if other exemptions would be introduced after confirmation of the status for fully vaccinated individuals arriving from designated states, Minister Donnelly said: "Yeah we will. Another exemption that came in tonight for sports for elite and professional athletes. Now there is a very important part of this which is their governing bodies can put in place equivalent situations."

Earlier this week, Minister of State for Sport Jack Chambers told RTÉ's News at One that the system under consideration would see a high performance athlete or team returning to Ireland from an overseas event or training subjected to a quarantine system that would enable them to continue to train, but limit all social and other interactions.

He said that the governing body for each sportsperson or team must present a plan to Sport Ireland ahead of inbound travel that adheres to strict and clear protocols and is underpinned by public health concerns.

Minister Chambers said that the plans will require the approval of the HSE on a case-by-case basis, including for teams coming to Ireland to play a match.

Regulations exempting elite athletes from the requirement to quarantine in a hotel have been signed in to law.

The exemptions will be made on a case-by-case basis for athletes who will apply - through their governing bodies - to Sport Ireland.

Athletes arriving from Level 2 countries on the mandatory hotel quarantine list will still have to undertake a period of isolation in a hotel or other designated facility equivalent to all other passengers coming from those countries.

The exemption will only apply for the duration of their specific sporting event or activity, or for training.

Each exemption will be certified by Sport Ireland in consultation with the Health Service Executive.