Irish Green Party Members Want Convention on Bad Bank

Ireland’s Green Party members want a convention to decide the organization’s position on the government’s plan for a so-called bad bank, the National Asset Management Agency.

NAMA plans to buy as much as 90 billion euros ($128 billion) of loans from the country’s banks to purge them of crippling real-estate debt. Parliament will debate the legislation on Sept. 16.

“I don’t see any bigger issue that our government is facing and our country is facing,” Tony McDermott, a former municipal councilor, said in an interview with Dublin-based broadcaster RTE today. “It is a make or break issue, not just for the Green Party, but for the country.”

The Greens form part of the ruling coalition with Prime Minister Brian Cowen’s Fianna Fail. If more than two-thirds of members opposed the setting up of NAMA, its lawmakers would be prevented from voting in favor of formally establishing the agency in parliament, the Irish Independent reported today.

Party leader John Gormley told reporters that it is likely that the party will hold a special convention. While he said that a two-thirds majority is “always very difficult to attain,” he “hoped” the party would be able to reach an agreement on the legislation.

“The Green Party in government has been closely involved in the NAMA process and will continue this engagement,” Gormley said in a statement. “We welcome our members’ participation in policy formulation on this and all other issues.”

McDermott said he wanted to ensure that taxpayers weren’t “put at any more risk” and any “upside of setting up NAMA” goes to the state and not bank investors.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dara Doyle at ddoyle1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David Merritt at dmerritt1@bloomberg.net

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