The Health Minister discussed moving the country to level four restrictions on Sunday morning with the Chief Medical Officer, before NPHET met.
Stephen Donnelly says he informed the Taoiseach Micheál Martin of that possibility before NPHET gave any advice.
The government claims the prospect of a level five recommendation was not discussed and came as a surprise that evening.
Health Minister Stephen Donnelly has been addressing the Dáil on the issue:
"Early Sunday morning, I texted the chief medical officer requesting a call before NPHET met," he said.
"The chief medical officer and I spoke. We discussed the current situation and the possibility of moving to level 4.
"I conveyed my belief that it was important that NPHET stuck to the parameters set out in each level.
"I contacted the Taoiseach afterwards."