Gormley says Nama convention likely


Green Party members are seeking to hold a special convention to decide the party's stance on the Government's National Asset Management Agency (Nama) plan.

Speaking this afternoon Green Party leader Minister John Gormley said it was "likely" a special convention would be called on the issue. "The party has been closely involved in the NAMA process and would continue this engagement," he said.

This morning, former Dublin Green councillor Tony McDermott said the issue could be a "make or break" one for the party. "I believe that there is a moral responsibility on the national executive committee" Mr McDermott told Morning Ireland. "They must reflect on the desire of a significant number of party members who would like to put this through the same type of rigorous consultative process as we normally do . . . as happened on the Lisbon treaty for example".

"I don't see any bigger issue that our Government is facing . . . and our country is facing, so it's make or break, not just for the Green Party but potentially how we do Nama can be a make-or-break issue for the future of the country."

Mr Gormley said it was "understandable that our party members would like an input into this important legislation."

The comments come after a liquidator was appointed to two of developer Liam Carroll’s companies as the Government prepares to set up the State “bad bank” to buy toxic loans from lenders. Mr Carroll’s loans are expected to be among the first and largest assets to be acquired by Nama.

"We believe, potentially, that Nama is a big an issue for the country as the Lisbon treaty . . . we had a special convention on Lisbon, and we believe that the party decision-making process should be just as rigorous . . . for Nama as it was for Lisbon," said Mr McDermott.

"Setting up a Nama should be just be copper-fastened for the taxpayers and the citizens of the country as it is for the stakeholders in the bank.

"We need to explicitly understand what the party are committing to in committing to Nama . . . what the Green Party grassroots are looking for is a discussion, a debate about that, before the legislation is supported or not supported by our parliamentary party."

Mr McDermott said there were currently four constituency organisations of the five required to force an executive discussion of the issue, adding there would be no problem getting the necessary support from Dáil constituency groups to have a special convention.

A spokeswoman for the party said it had received three valid requests so far, however. There were queries about a fourth. If a party convention is held and two-thirds of members vote against Nama parliamentary members would be blocked from supporting the legislation, throwing Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan's plans and the future of the Government into disarray.

The Government recently saw its technical majority wiped out following the defection of two parliamentary members earlier this month.

The Greens, who have already warned that another round of fiscal pain could make their Government partnership difficult, will hold a party convention later this year on the programme for Government.

Mr Lenihan will recall the Dáil on September 16th to debate legislation creating Nama.

Yesterday, a number of banks owed more than €1 billion by companies controlled by Mr Carroll attended an emergency meeting to consider their options after a liquidator was appointed to two of his companies

As the banks met, the High Court appointed a provisional liquidator to two of the main companies in the Zoe group on an application from Dutch-owned ACCBank. The bank secured the appointment of a provisional liquidator in an attempt to recover unpaid debts totalling €136 million.

Additional reporting Reuters