The Government needs to "sharpen up its act" when it comes to communication, the former Chief Executive of the HSE has said.
Tony O'Brien said there has been a "failure" in effective communication to the public since the new Government took over.
It comes after new guidelines for pubs and restaurants issued this week caused confusion, followed by several clarifications from Government ministers.
Speaking on Newstalk Breakfast today, Mr O'Brien said success was needed in the Department of Health "now more than ever".
He said the Minister for Health Stephen Donnelly had taken up the role at a very difficult time but that he's "learning as he goes".
He said: "No one would want their first ministerial appointment in the middle of a pandemic and particularly at this stage of the pandemic where the communications have become a lot more challenging.
"I think it's very early days, I think we're all invested in the success of any health minister.
"I think its really important that the health minister gets maximum support."
'Confusion and concern'
Mr O'Brien said we are at a more difficult period now when it comes to health policy than we were six months ago.
He said: "We're trying to find our way to having as close to a normal existence as we can in an extraordinary and abnormal time.
"That's bound to mean that everything is subject to debate and question.
"The critical issue is that where there is very clear public health advice and where the Government makes decisions, the Government as a whole needs to sharpen up its act when it comes to strategic communications.
"I think there has been a failure since the Government changed over.
"They have been learning, and hopefully this rather unfortunate summer will soon be behind us and they can get back to much more clear and straightforward and coordinated communication."
He added: "I don't think that's on any one individual minister because when you have ministers coming out with slightly divergent messages that creates room for doubt and confusion and we need to get beyond that.
"So at a central level, the Government needs to be a lot more strategic in how it communicates and explains its decisions and the way it prepares us for the decisions it's about to announce.
"If you hand out an interesting decision without explaining it properly, naturally there's going to be confusion and concern and they need to avoid that."
Mr O'Brien added that when it comes to face coverings, the advice to date had not been clear on visors.
He said that the only benefit they bring is protecting one's eyes when they are worn in addition to a mask.
He said: "Without a face mask it does very little.
"I think it's really important that we move to a place of understanding that the only effective way to contain your breath, is to wear a mask that continuously covers both your mouth and your nose."