THE final stages of the controversial Nama legislation are set to be 'parked' until after the Lisbon referendum in early October, the Sunday Tribune has learned.
The Dáil is to resume early from its summer recess on 16 September to debate Nama but while that debate will last for at least that week and possibly run into the following week, the committee stage is likely to be deferred until after the key vote on Lisbon.
This will mean that the legislation is unlikely to be passed into law before mid-October.
"There won't be an attempt to ram through the legislation. The government is conscious that this legislation is critically important to the state and the economy and is anxious to bring it in as quickly as possible, but only after rigorous examination [by the Oireachtas]," one government source said.
The source said that it was critical that the Nama bill be given the "undivided attention" of the political parties and for that reason there wouldn't be a final vote on the legislation until after 2 October, the date for the Lisbon referendum.
It is not yet decided if the committee stage could take place in tandem with the final days of the Lisbon campaign but well-placed sources suggested that it was more likely to take place immediately after referendum day.
Government sources said work was still being finalised on the legislation to make it more "robust" but that such was its importance that, when it came before the Dáil, it would "almost akin to a budget debate".
Although the government is anxious that attention on the Nama legislation is not diluted by the Lisbon referendum campaign – or vice versa – the sources stressed that it would become law "within a reasonable time frame", adding: "This can't be strung out forever. We have to think of the uncertainty and the impact on the markets that would cause".
The likely October timetable for the Nama legislation means that the issue can be fully considered by a special convention of Green party members –likely to take place shortly after Lisbon – that will also vote on the re-negotiated programme for government.
The Greens will have a conference on 12 September to debate Nama but it will not vote on the issue because the final shape of the legislation will not be known until October.
Party members will have an opportunity to vote on Nama at the special convention in early October.