Essentially, party leaders don't sit on committees as it's very difficult to have the time to do both well, and he became a party leader last year. His attendance in the first 4 years was great - and he made great contributions and tabled a lot of legislative amendments, but of the hundreds of amendments tabled by opposition TDs a whopping zero were accepted by the government.
It's a shame that our committees are much less useful than in other major democracies, and actually something we propose changing in our Manifesto, taking a lot of power away from the cabinet and transferring it to the committees and putting them at the heart of our legislative process:
I don't care if he is party leader, you've got 3 party co-leaders, did they all drop out of their committees for the last year?
and you can specifically answers my questions as to why he didn't go to the committee meeting with SIPO (and the Ombudsman) weeks before launching a policy document that involved rearranging what the commission would do.
Going to committees is part of the job of a TD, you never let them say you didn't turn up. You turn up and challenge till the very last day, he knew what committees and the Dail was like going in, didn't he?
what happens if Stephen Donnelly doesn't get into government? or the Socdems don't get enough TDs to operate on their own outside the Technical group, will he go on committees? or will he look at and another 5 years as an opposition TD and just quit?