Deputy Alan Farrell has taken to Twitter to denounce the National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) media leaks that he alleges took place today.

The Fine Gael TD for Dublin Fingal said that NPHET were “briefing the media again” after it emerged this afternoon that the health advisory body had recommended the government move the entire country into Level 5 restrictions.

Farrell said that the group was “causing speculation and worry”, and that if the alleged leaks were to continue, “questions must be asked as to whether or not the body is fit for purpose in its current form.”

NPHET had been criticised in government circles earlier this month when the media reported the body had similarly recommended the country be moved to Level 5, despite the government not being made aware of the proposal first.

A reportedly fraught private meeting then took place between government ministers and NPHET in which the idea was dismissed by Taoiseach Micheál Martin, Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Green Party leader Eamon Ryan because it was decided that a full lockdown would be a “panicked response.”

The relationship between the government and Chief Medical Officer Dr. Tony Holohan then reached a low point when Mr. Varadkar told the Claire Byrne Show that the recommendations were not thought through, that no prior consultation had occurred, and that this would not happen again.

Today’s news that NPHET will once again recommend Level 5 appears to have taken the government by surprise, with Alan Farrell the first to comment on the matter.

It remains to be seen if the government will reject the advice of NPHET for the second time, with a decision not expected for at least 24 hours.