Galway Greens not keen on NAMA ahead of Saturday’s crucial party vote

Former Green mayor Niall Ó Brolcháin.

Former Green mayor Niall Ó Brolcháin.

Having survived the Lisbon Treaty vote last weekend, An Taoiseach Brian Cowen will have yet another bout of nerves to contend with this weekend.

On Saturday the Green Party membership votes on whether or not to approve of NAMA and the new Programme for Government with Fianna Fáil.

Green Party members will gather in the RDS on Saturday to vote on a motion calling for the rejection of NAMA and to support the new Programme for Government. The vote has national significance because if the Greens reject NAMA and the programme the Fianna Fáil/Green coalition will fall and a general election will be called.

Galway Greens will attend the meeting and will have a role to play in its outcome as all party members are entitled to vote on the two motions.

“There are furious debates within the party and the Galway Greens met on the issue on Monday,” former Green mayor Niall Ó Brolcháin told the Galway Advertiser. “It’s difficult to predict how it will go and what the results will be.”

Mr Ó Brolcháin admits it will be “difficult to get 66 per cent” of people to vote against a motion calling for the rejection of NAMA when “nobody likes NAMA” to begin with.

“I don’t think any of the Greens are happy with it,” he said. “It’s a case though of ‘What’s the alternative?’ What happens if it’s not voted for?”

According to Mr Ó Brolcháin, Galway Greens, like Greens across the State, are adopting a ‘wait and see’ attitude to the Programme for Government. Negotiations are still ongoing on the document and it may not be ready for viewing until Saturday.

“We haven’t seen it yet so we want to wait before deciding,” said Mr Ó Brolcháin. “Galway Greens want to hear the debates and make up their mind before voting but there is a lot of scepticism on NAMA.”

Many feel the Greens will ultimately back proposals as a way of keeping the party in Government and by way of staving off an election which will only result in the party being decimated.

Mr Ó Brolcháin believes that pulling out of Government would “backfire badly” on the party but he acknowledges that “there are many principled people in the Greens”. They may vote against NAMA and the Programme for Government if they truly feel it is a bad deal, regardless of how the outcome affects the party. As such, the result is by no means a forgone conclusion. Cue another restless weekend for Brian Cowen.

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