Britain has asked police and intelligence agencies to report on the state of banned militant groups in Northern Ireland, after claims of IRA activity brought the province's Catholic-Protestant administration close to collapse.

Northern Ireland Secretary Theresa Villers said Friday she had asked for an assessment of "the structure, role and purpose of paramilitary organizations" to be published by mid-October.

The power-sharing administration has teetered since police said members of the Irish Republican Army murdered a former colleague in Belfast last month. The IRA is supposed to have disarmed and dissolved as part of Northern Ireland's peace process.

Protestant First Minister Peter Robinson and several colleagues quit the administration last week, saying they could not remain alongside the IRA-linked Sinn Fein party.

Crisis talks to save the administration are starting Monday.