It's 'very unhelpful' for recommendations about coronavirus restrictions to be leaked to the media before Cabinet considers them, according to Fine Gael TD Alan Farrell.
He was speaking after it emerged today that NPHET has recommended to the Government that the entire country be moved to level five restrictions for six weeks
Coalition leaders are set to meet tomorrow to consider the situation, less than two weeks after rejecting NPHET's previous level five recommendation.
Most counties are currently at level three, except for Cavan, Donegal and Monaghan which are now at level four.
Deputy Farrell told The Hard Shoulder there's now a 'track record' of information leaking in advance.
He said: "It's a shock to people up and down the country... the prospect of jumping from three to five, in the vast bulk of the country.
"I think it's very unhelpful for this information to be in the public domain before Cabinet has had a chance to consider it.
"I think there are probably strong views in relation to what happened two weeks ago. I was particularly perturbed by the fact the information was being put out on a Sunday... and no more so today."
Deputy Farrell said he doesn't support a move to level five, as he doesn't believe level three has had a chance to 'bed in' around the country.
He argued: "We need to give level three more time - because the prospect of level five and what it entails will have a very significant impact not just on people's lives, but also their livelihoods.
"I'm of the view that level three is very, very restrictive - if you look at our national picture and compare it to other European countries, we are actually an awful lot stricter than our EU counterparts."
He suggested there has been a 'steady creep upwards' in numbers in Dublin, but he doesn't believe the capital is 'doing too badly'.
However, he acknowledged the picture nationally is 'somewhat different', with some communities facing significant challenges in recent weeks.