Gormley believes Nama will go ahead

 

GREEN PARTY leader John Gormley has expressed confidence that the Nama legislation will not be blocked, even if a party convention is summoned to discuss the issue.

Three Green constituency organisations have passed motions calling for a special convention on Nama, the “bad bank” being set up by the Government to buy toxic loans from lenders.

If a similar motion is passed by two more constituencies, a convention will be held by the Greens before the legislation goes into the Dáil on September 16th.

Mr Gormley said last night that the party in Government had been closely involved in the Nama process and would continue its engagement on the issue.

“As the most democratic party in this country we welcome our members’ participation in policy formulation on this and all other issues.

“We have already held two special seminars on Nama for interested members, one of which was attended by the interim head of Nama, Brendan McDonagh,” he said.

Mr Gormley said it was understandable that party members would like an input into such important legislation and a meeting of officers this weekend would see how that could be facilitated.

“You can crunch the numbers any way you like but Nama works out as the most preferable solution.

“We have already briefed our members on the issue and I am confident their views can be accommodated,” he said.

“Our strong commitment to party dialogue was evident in our recent convention on the EU Lisbon Treaty, which was endorsed by a two-thirds majority of our members,” he said.

If a convention is summoned it would take a two-thirds majority to block the Nama legislation, which has been backed by the two Green Cabinet Ministers and the other four members of the parliamentary party.

Party sources believe it is highly unlikely that two-thirds of the membership would reject the approach taken by the party’s six TDs to Nama.

However, if a convention is called the party national executive may decide that the current review of the programme for government should also come on the agenda, as it needs the approval of the membership. It is understood that little progress has been made to date on the review, and party leadership could be under severe pressure to get an acceptable deal in place by September 16th.

Two of the Green Party’s three councillors yesterday supported the line on Nama taken by the party’s Ministers and TDs, while the third took a different view.

Mayor of Kilkenny Malcolm Noonan said he appreciated it was a serious issue but added: “I am happy to allow the parliamentary leadership to move ahead with this.”

Mr Noonan said the disquiet in the Green Party about Nama reflected the mood among the general public, as not everybody was au fait with the economics of it.

“Nama is a fundamental piece of legislation with huge implications for the country.

“I would trust the parliamentary party in whatever way they decide to go,” he said.

However, Clare county councillor Brian Meaney said the electorate needed to be consulted on Nama.

“I would prefer to see any government introducing Nama to seek a fresh mandate from the electorate,” he said.

Mr Meaney added that consulting the electorate might involve a general election or a plebiscite.

Party general secretary Colm Ó Caomhánaigh has written to units of the organisation pointing out that a minimum of 21 days’ notice should be sent to constituency members in advance of any meeting to summon a convention, and party head office should be given 10 days’ notice of such a meeting.