Tonight's Cabinet decision to move the entire country to Level 3 restrictions will mark the first time the Government has rejected significant advice from the National Public Health Emergency Team and been prepared to chart its own course.

Ministers are keenly aware that big political decisions, such as this one, can carry big consequences, but Cabinet this evening pressed ahead with Level 3 rather than Level 5 restrictions.

A senior Government source told me that while ministers took NPHET concerns "very seriously" regarding the exponential growth of Covid-19, there was "resistance" to moving to Level 5 "at this time".

Opposition parties will want to know a lot more about that "resistance" and that is likely to be the focus of debate in the Dáil tomorrow. 

For example, Sinn Féin's David Cullinane said it's very serious, and requires explanation - why NPHET is recommending one thing, but the Government ends up doing something else.

Another big question is how the relationship between the Government and NPHET will be affected by today's outcome.

Could today's rebuff by Government of NPHET's advice lead to a running battle between the two sides as the new policy takes hold? 

There was also some veiled criticism of NPHET's handling of matters from Government.

One senior source told me the perception which was created today of "doctors versus politicians" should "never ever have been allowed to get to this point of showdown".

It's worth noting that the Government didn't reject everything set out by NPHET, which called for a renewed commitment to enforcement of regulations. That will be part of the Cabinet's plan.

However, bridges need to be rebuilt. And quickly.