The head of the Department of Health has said Minister Stephen Donnelly was not aware of the exact details around the secondment of Dr Tony Holohan.
Robert Watt also said they were afraid news of Dr Holohan seeking to leave the organisation would leak during the pandemic.
Mr Watt was appearing before an Oireachtas Committee earlier to explain the circumstances around the now-abandoned secondment of Dr Holohan to Trinity College.
He admitted Minister Donnelly did not know the full details, but said this was because the plans had not advanced that far.
Mr Watt also said the department made a statement on the matter before it wanted to.
"We were very conscious to do it in an appropriate fashion... at various stages when the conversations were taking place there was still the disease.
"We didn't want for it to be leaked that the CMO was thinking about moving on, we didn't think that would be good.
"So we tried to manage it in a sensible way, given the challenges that we faced - and given that this ultimately is a personnel matter in the department, notwithstanding the CMOs profile."
Asked if the Minister asked about the arrangements, Mr Watt said this was not a consideration at that time.
"No, because we indicated to him that the arrangements were still to be worked out and that the details hadn't been finalised yet.
"And as we're aware, we were bounced into making a statement earlier than we had hoped.
"The Minister knew the generality, but of course he wasn't involved in the details of the proposal.
"We thought that was appropriate given the circumstances.
"But obviously with the benefit of hindsight, we should have done differently, we should have socialised it differently", he added.