A leading Dáil committee had to abandon a hearing with expert witnesses this week as TD members failed to show up.
The Committee on Budgetary Oversight had been scheduled to hear from representatives from the Nevin Economic Research Institute and the Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU) on Wednesday evening.
However, the Committee, which reviews the macro-economic and fiscal issues that form part of budget considerations, could not hold the meeting as a quorum could not be reached. Chair of the Committee, Neasa Hourigan, wrote to members reminding them of the importance of attending.
Before cancelling the meeting, Ms Hourigan apologised to the experts who had turned up and asked them to come back to a rescheduled sitting next week.
Independent TD Sean Canney, who was one of the few TDs who showed up to the meeting, said: "It was unfortunate that so many didn't attend. We are a committee that get through a lot of work, hopefully this is a once-off and it won't happen again."
However, Mr Canney pointed out that the Dáil and committee schedules mean that members often have multiple discussions to attend and said there was a debate on the mother and baby home redress scheme happening in the Dáil on Wednesday evening.
"The problem is that committees are in conflict with the Dáil schedule and other committees and it can make things difficult," he added.
Fellow committee member, Michael Healy-Rae, said he had been attending another meeting and by the time he tried to virtually log in to attend the committee from his Dáil office it had been suspended.
"I can't be in two places at once," Mr Healy-Rae said, adding that every minute of his diary is full.
Sinn Féin's Mairead Farrell said she had another commitment after which she had planned to attend. "I attended this committee every single week and had prepared in detail for the meeting," she added.
Labour's Ged Nash said he had contacted ICTU in advance of their scheduled appearance to explain that he would not be able to attend. "This is an exceptionally rare occurrence and in my 12 years in the Oireachtas I cannot recall it having happened before, at least on any committees of which I am a member.
"There are often committee scheduling clashes with Dáil business and other responsibilities. Clerks and chairs do their utmost to arrange meetings to facilitate everyone as best they can," Mr Nash said.