Business of Seanad.

I want to make a few references to the manner in which the proceedings were conducted here this evening. It is with regret that I note there has been disorder in the House. I confirm the correctness of the ruling of the Leas-Chathaoirleach in relation to the disorder that occurred and also make it clear to all Members of the House that the Leas-Chathaoirleach, in accordance with Standing Orders, carries the right to exercise the function of the Cathaoirleach in its entirety in the absence of the Cathaoirleach on official business.

On this occasion the Cathaoirleach was absent on official business and had in accordance with practice arranged with the Leas-Chathaoirleach to replace him and his function for the period of the absence. I now rule in confirmation of the action taken by the Leas-Chathaoirleach. I regret that people who should know better attempted to misdirect and cause disturbance to the extent that the business of this House was conducted in a most unruly and disorderly manner.

On a point of order, Standing Orders were suspended on the basis of what was voted through yesterday morning and, accordingly, it is wrong——

I am not prepared to get into a debate on this matter. I am not prepared to explain my ruling. I am not prepared to take submissions. I am satisfied, and that is the finality of the matter.

On a point of order, you are certainly prepared to make statements about something you know nothing about. That is most unfair.

Is the Cathaoirleach prepared——

I want to remind Senator McDonald that there is a convention in this House that former Cathaoirligh and Leas-Chathaoirligh are expected to know and understand Standing Orders. Failure to understand them means the Cathaoirleach has to remind you to look at them again because, clearly, you do not understand the meaning of Standing Orders in the context of this evening's affairs.

I am suitably chastened.

A Chathaoirligh, you have made matters worse by your intervention.

Senator Costello, please resume your seat.

Am I not entitled to raise a point of order?

Senator Costello, for the last time resume your seat or I will ask that you be named.

A Chathaoirligh, you have made matters worse.