British prime minister Tony Blair is set to suspend the Northern Ireland Assembly power-sharing executive early next week in a bid to protect the Good Friday Agreement.
British government sources indicated suspension of devolution was likely to occur next Monday as the peace process reeled from allegations that Republicans operated a spy ring in the Northern Ireland Office.
Extra direct rule ministers from Westminster would be appointed to the Northern Ireland Office to take over the running of the Northern Ireland Executive’s 10 government departments.
"At this stage, there are still discussions going on," a source said.
"It would look like suspension will happen on Monday. However, there are still some details to be worked out."
Northern Ireland Secretary John Reid was expected to make an emergency statement to the House of Commons early next week following suspension.