London takes key step to direct rule of N. Ireland

ReutersLONDON (Reuters) — The British government outlined a budget for Northern Ireland on Monday for the first time in a decade in a major step toward imposing direct rule after attempts to form a power-sharing government in Belfast collapsed.

There is a risk the civil service could run out of money unless the British government passes the bill in Westminster before the end of the month, Britain’s minister for the region James Brokenshire told Parliament.

“Without further action, there are risks that the civil service would simply run out of resources,” he said. “No government could simply stand by and allow that to happen.”

Irish Nationalists Sinn Fein and the pro-British Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) have shared power in Northern Ireland for a decade under the terms of the 1998 Good Friday peace agreement, which ended three decades of violence that killed 3,600 people.

But Sinn Fein pulled out in January, complaining it was not being treated as an equal partner.Speech

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