LONDON – The British government is preparing to impose a budget on Northern Ireland, amid failure by the main parties to restore the collapsed power-sharing administration.
Northern Ireland Secretary James Brokenshire says the pro-British Protestant Democratic Unionist Party and Irish Catholics of Sinn Fein failed to meet a Monday deadline to strike an accord. He says unless London sets a budget, Northern Ireland will begin to run out of money by month's end.
Brokenshire says the move does not amount to Britain imposing direct rule. He said Wednesday that "it remains firmly in the interests of Northern Ireland to see devolved government restored."
The Belfast administration has been suspended since January. The parties have blamed each other for the impasse that threatens power-sharing, the key achievement of Northern Ireland's 1998 peace accord.