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Northern Ireland's historic power-sharing government in grave danger of collapse

  • Sinn Fein party leader Gerry Adams, right, and Martin McGuinness speak to the media at Parliament Buildings, Stormont, Belfast, Northern Ireland, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015.  A political crisis at Stormont has developed over the recent murder of Kevin McGuigan, the status of the IRA, and the viability of the Catholic-Protestant power-sharing government.  (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

    Sinn Fein party leader Gerry Adams, right, and Martin McGuinness speak to the media at Parliament Buildings, Stormont, Belfast, Northern Ireland, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015. A political crisis at Stormont has developed over the recent murder of Kevin McGuigan, the status of the IRA, and the viability of the Catholic-Protestant power-sharing government. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)  (The Associated Press)

  • Sinn Fein party leader Gerry Adams, centre, with party members Alex Maskey, left, and Martin McGuinness, front right, wait to speak to the media at Parliament Buildings, Stormont, Belfast, Northern Ireland, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015.  A political crisis at Stormont has developed over the recent murder of Kevin McGuigan and the status of the IRA, and the viability of the Catholic-Protestant power-sharing government. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

    Sinn Fein party leader Gerry Adams, centre, with party members Alex Maskey, left, and Martin McGuinness, front right, wait to speak to the media at Parliament Buildings, Stormont, Belfast, Northern Ireland, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015. A political crisis at Stormont has developed over the recent murder of Kevin McGuigan and the status of the IRA, and the viability of the Catholic-Protestant power-sharing government. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)  (The Associated Press)

  • Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson speaks to the media during a press conference at Stormont, Belfast, Northern Ireland, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015. Robinson said Thursday that he is stepping aside because of an impasse that threatens to bring down the Catholic-Protestant power-sharing government. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

    Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson speaks to the media during a press conference at Stormont, Belfast, Northern Ireland, Thursday, Sept. 10, 2015. Robinson said Thursday that he is stepping aside because of an impasse that threatens to bring down the Catholic-Protestant power-sharing government. (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)  (The Associated Press)

The viability of the Catholic-Protestant power-sharing government in Northern Ireland is in doubt after several parties voted to reject a proposal to adjourn the government.

The vote Thursday raises the likelihood that the government will collapse or be suspended because of the impasse.

First Minister Peter Robinson, the leader of the Democratic Unionists, has said his ministers will resign unless adjournment or suspension is reached.

The withdrawal of his ministers would bring down the power-sharing government, a cornerstone of the historic 1998 Northern Ireland peace agreement. A collapse could lead to the return of direct British rule from Westminster.

The crisis has intensified with police suggestions that Irish Republic Army dissidents were involved in a recent murder. Several prominent figures have been arrested in recent days. Crisis talks are continuing.