Staff at one Irish nursing home had to wear painters overalls and goggles due to a lack of personal protective equipment in the early stages of the covid-19 crisis.
The revelation was made in documents that detailed correspondence between the Department of Health and Nursing Homes Ireland.
Nursing Homes Ireland said more PPE should have been directed to nursing homes instead of entirely to acute hospitals.
So far, more than half of coronavirus deaths have occurred in nursing homes.
The groups Chief Executive Tadhg Daly told the committee that residents were left isolated by the state when the covid-19 pandemic emerged:
"Key state organisations left the nursing home sector and its residents isolate in those early days. The dismay will live forever with us."
But Fine Gael TD Fergus O'Dowd hit back at that assessment - saying wealthy owners of private nursing homes could have done more to buy PPE.
"You are making the point that the state, or the HSE or the Minister or the Department didn't assist you. I believe that they did and I believe you could have done a lot more for yourself and you didn't do that."
*Reporting by Sean Defoe